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Exactly my cup of tea

Exactly my cup of tea

An evening with Book Kitavadhana

Sandy Clark

The audience experienced a masterpiece of an evening at Gong Dee Studio in Soi Nimmanhaemin when Book Kitavadhana returned to the stage for his first concert in five years. It was musical theater that was sold out in four days after the event was published in the Chiangmai Mail, and one that enchanted the entire audience.

Do you recognize Eliza Doolittle, the flower seller? David Wilson and Book presenting one of the famous songs from ‘My Fair Lady’.

The patrons were thrilled when baritone Book, accompanied by pianist Bernard Sumner (well known in Chiang Mai for his expertise and humor), opened with Rodgers and Hammerstein’s sentimental ‘Sound of Music’.

Four hands on the piano, sounding like at least eight, playing one of the beautiful songs from the ‘Sound of Music’.

The performance featured a perfect combination of songs and comedy, from some of the most popular musicals of the last century, including ‘My Fair Lady’, ‘Oklahoma’, ‘The King and I’ and ‘South Pacific’.

Bernard and Book during a duet.

The audience was smitten by even some more serious love songs as Book has a way to keep everybody under his spell. They sang with him and I am sure that Gong Dee Studio rarely has so many singers as there were when Book and Bernard acted as voice teachers and made the audience join in ‘Do-Re-Mi-Fa-So’ until ‘they thought’ it was perfect.

“I want to hear the whole audience. Do-Re-Mi-Fa-So!”

Comedy theatre was seen in the duet between Bernard and Book, regarding ‘My cup of tea’ and by the time the first guest artist appeared, the audience was in a wonderful mood.

Panit Somana was the first, a singer who acted as Book’s counterpart ‘Christine’ in ‘Phantom of the Opera’ six years ago, a performance which Book refused as it requires an ugly face and he prefers beauty. But after Panita sang ‘I have dreamed’ from The King and I, the audience insisted on a ‘Phantom song’ and it was ‘Love changes everything’, in a marvelous and strong interpretation by the two artists.

Flowers as appreciation given to the artists. (From left) Book Kiavadhana, CG Bea Camp, Amy Robertson, Tianchai Sooktiang and Panit Somana.

David Wilson, the second internationally renowned pianist, joined the concert after the intermission and his playing is hard to describe without getting lost in superlatives. Excellence and innovation, serious with a touch of humor, especially after Book insisted that both pianists share one piano.

A second ‘encore’ for Amy Robertson, Tianchai Sooktiang, Panit Somana and Book Kitavadhana.

Tianchai Sooktiang was the next guest and he proved once again that he is an excellent singer who besides wit, skill, and warmth, brings a sense of the character to every word that is sung. The last of the guest artists was Amy Robertson, who was as professional as she was elegant, playfully flirting with the pianist.

Not a serious classic night but high class musical entertainment at Gong Dee Studio.

To summarize with the words of the artists as well as those of the audience, it was “Exactly my cup of tea!”