Friday, 6 December 2013

Rainer Hersch at the Southbank Centre

THINK you know all those Christmas songs? Well listen to Rainer Hersch's interpretations and you may want to think again.
The comedian, writer, performer and classical musician will be bringing his own unique take on a selection of Yuletide tunes from yesteryear which have graced the charts at a special concert at the Southbank Centre next week.
From The Beatles to Mr Blobby, Harry Belafonte to the Human League and Benny Hill to the Military Wives, Christmas No.1 SINGALONG! will be a veritable jamboree of classic UK singles chart Christmas number ones.
"I have done a lot of shows at the Southbank Centre over the years. It's a lovely venue and the perfect place to do a mix of comedy and music which is what this is," he explains.
"Originally I was going to do Christmas songs from the 70s and 80s but then I thought number ones would be more interesting and fun to do so I'm looking forward to it."
But don't expect any of the original versions.
"My background is in classical music and a lot of the songs are quite classical in the way they are constructed. However, I will be doing my own special rendition of them, mashing them up a bit," he laughs.
"It's basically a sing-along, stand-up comedy trip down memory lane all rolled into one and the audience are very much part of the show."
Rainer's dual love of comedy and classical music began when he was at school.
"My first love was music and I got a real buzz out of it," he says. "My act of rebellion as a teenager was classical music. I got obsessively interested in piano and went to lots of concerts - many of which were at the Southbank Centre.
"I did a degree in economics but carried on playing music and started writing comedy shows. Eventually one fine day I realised I could earn a living out of doing both and I've not looked back."
Indeed he now performs shows all over the world as both a stand-up, soloist and with full size orchestras as well as his own eight-piece band.
And it will be this band who will be joining him on stage next week along with actress and singer Charlotte Page.
"Charlotte Page will help me do 15 numbers," he says. "Eight of them are cast iron classics and include Bohemian Rhapsody, and Ernie (the fastest milkman in the West) - they absolutely require audience participation!"
They will also be grouped in to categories including Classic, Novelty and Christian Songs.
"True classics are like those done by Slade," he says. "Those are my favourites because they are about having a good time over Christmas and put you in a party spirit. Not like Mr Blobby and the Band Aid single which are really cringy.
"Slade's Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day is definitely my favourite but imagine if it was Christmas every day – everything would be closed and we would be eating Turkey every day! It's nonsense!
"So, I will be doing a bit of song deconstruction as well. It'll be a bit like a Christmas cracker - full of surprises and hopefully go with a bang!"

Christmas No.1 SINGALONG! With Rainer Hersch and his orchestra is on at the Purcell Room, Southbank Centre on Saturday December 14. Tickets cost £20. Call the box office on 0844 847 9910.

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