ON the coldest night of the year, singer Martin Toal ensured that his Evening of Favourite Songs, Music and Dance had the warmest atmosphere in Altrincham.

He opened the concert at the Garrick Playhouse with Nella Fantasia bringing out every nuance of expression in each carefully controlled note.

Martin closed the first part with his favourite, Nessun Dorma in clearly enunciated, perfect Italian.

After the interval he was interactive with the audience presenting a varied programme of folk songs, arias, songs from the shows and even a Rugby medley.

He sang a wonderful duet, Bring him Home with Luke Race, a recent graduate of the Arden School of Theatre, who, earlier on performed the solo, Anthem, with an appealing softness to his crescendos.

Another guest artist, Scarlett Quigley, appeared on The Voice last year, an experience she described as “helping her confidence”.

She showed no lack of confidence when her deeo-throated voice sang the aria O Mio Babbino Caro and Never Enough and the duet she performed with Martin, Time to say Goodbye was the perfect fusion of soprano and tenor.

Violinist, Richard Sanderson’s fast fingers on the fiddle got everyone wanting to dance although they could watch dance as it should be done when members of the June Rendell Academy of Dance who won a prize for Not About Angels in the Momentum Contemporary Dance competition, performed it and other dances.

Martin discovered a hidden gem in St Hugh’s RC Primary School choir. The 50-strong group under the baton of Jessica Pearson displayed enormous discipline for their age.

It’s a wonder the Garrick’s roof didn’t fly off with a rousing Proms Finale in which all the guest artists shone again and brought the show to a rousing end.

Star rating: * * * *