A stunning tribute to The Carpenters

When Richard Carpenter calls it a “very accurate and faithful portrayal – I’m flattered,” you just know The Carpenters Story is going to be an enjoyable nostalgic celebration. So it was no surprise that an audience of 1,100 fans left the Congress Theatre happy.

The award-winning show – a concert rather than a musical biography – paid tribute to possibly the most successful ever pop duo, with Claire Furley doing a first class job in representing Karen Carpenter.

Claire’s silky vocals and warm personality enabled her to get as near to recreating Karen’s sound as possible, particularly with There’s A Kind Of Hush and Close To You, but nobody can fully match Karen’s uniquely beautiful pitch perfect voice that could be so soft and, when necessary, so powerful.

Phil Aldridge, playing piano and providing backing vocals, took the role of Richard, yet, disappointingly, did not sing a duet with her.

He excelled, however, as creator and producer as well as providing some interesting snippets such as telling us that Dionne Warwick turned down the chance to record Close to You.

But the focus was mainly on the delightful Claire, who even emulated Karen by playing the drums!

She was backed by six other talented musicians. Richard Pardy played tenor sax, clarinet, flute, recorder and percussion, while drummer Brent Keefe, violinist Lorraine Kelly, lead guitarist Christian Phillips, bass guitarist Andy Staples and oboe player Lydia Griffiths offered excellent support.

It all added up to a stunning tribute to a duo that sold more than 100 million records - but particularly to Karen who had battled anorexia bravely before succumbing to heart failure on February 4, 1983.

Claire treated us to so many timeless hits, including Yesterday Once More, We’ve Only Just Begun, Please Mr Postman, and ending, appropriately, with Goodbye To Love. By Tony Flood.