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H2O Phlo tells a beautiful christmas story

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The attendance at last Saturday’s premiere of H2O Phlo’s annual This Christmas—A Christmas Story concert, held at Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s concert can be decribed as healthy. Among early patrons were Point Fortin MP Paula Gopee-Scoon, NCC chairman Allison Demas and COP executive member Nicole Dyer-Griffith. The programme began promptly at its scheduled 8 pm start with a video of the Nativity, preceding the entrance of the trio (Keston Rosales, Jason “Fridge” Seecheran, Junior Nelson), of H2O Phlo, as the three wise men, singing Do You See What I See. They joined Natasha Benjamin, as Mary, in the manger, to sing What Child is This? Also in this segment was Kyle Ahong as the drummer boy for On my drum. The First Noel ended the manger scene.


Skipping 2,000 years later in T&T, Lennox Gray’s Laughing Children was rendered by Raymond Edwards, followed by The Jackson’s segment, inclusive of Benjamin singing Michael Jackson’s Someday at Christmas, Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, and Nelson rendering Give Love. Immaculately attired all in white, Laureston Special sang Christmas Joy. His rendition was punctuated by applause, mostly from women cheering on this falsetto vocalist. Mimicking Stevie Wonder, and “led” on stage by Seecheran, Nelson sat behind keyboards to render One Little Christmas Tree, followed by Rosales imitating the late Nap Hepburn for Hepburn’s Tell Santa.


This Christmas—A Christmas Story was certainly a “good feeling show,” infused with videographic inserts of television ads of yesteryear, enticing patrons, young and not so young, to clap and sing along to many of the familiar items. Like last year’s edition, if ever there was a production that cries out for a reprise it is this one. Two of the vintage ads to excite patrons were Carib being sold at $1.99 and a BWIA ad from the ‘80s. One of the night’s most popular numbers was Rembunction singing Relator’s Christmas on Sesame Street, introduced by The Count in a video clip of Sesame Street. Children in the audience particularly liked this one. The stage set smoothly moving to a wintery New York setting, three Trinidadian friends (H2O Phlo) met outdoors in New York, around a burning bin to render Come All Ye Faithful and Hark the Herald Angels, acappella style. Accompanied by the band 2G, they also sang Sleigh Bells and Let it snow, as well as Seecheran doing Chestnuts. CAL Invaders, which had H2O Phlo as its guest at last month’s Pan, Parang and Pork at the Queen’s Park Oval, was joined by 2G, to play Carols of the Bells. This ushered intermission at 9.15 pm.



H2O Phlo resumed with a medley of seasonal standards, including It’s Christmas, its original All I Want for Christmas, Luther Vandross’ Every Christmas, A Merry Little Christmas, Come On Everybody, and an another original, Christmas Time Again. Benjamin then soloed All I Want for Christmas, preceding Rembunction singing his new single Thunderbolt, and Parang Whole Night. A very energetic performer, Rembunction, brother of Olatunji, seems to be heading to a most successful Carnival 2014. H2O Phlo returned to do the parang soca segment and this included Sweetest Christmas Lime and Neighbour. In this segment, Tyrese Williams of Valencia, who turned ten the preceding Tuesday, guested with the trio, singing his debut parang soca single – Parang Season. Definitely a young man with potential, the Arima Boys RC School student enticed patrons to sing the chorus with him.


Also one of the show’s memorable moments was the performance by reigning National Humour Calypso Monarch Myron B. He sang Neighbour Neighbour and he had his audience in stitches by making four costume changes during his song while on stage, including a pink evening gown. With patrons under his spell, Myron B and H2O Phlo sang Mouth Parang, with patrons mouthing instruments. H2O Phlo closed show at 10.30 pm, singing its hit single Spending Christmas With You. This Christmas – A Christmas Story is among my three picks for “best production” for 2013. Produced by Goldpoint Entertainment, 2G and H2O Phlo, its storyline was done by 2G musical director Richard “Char Su” Ahong. The musicians of 2G are Curtis Bethelmy, Kerdice Devenish, Gabriel Bernard and Ahong.


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