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Nikolai Galen

Nikolai Galen

Nikolai Galen

Nikolai Galen
at The Norwich Playhouse as part of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival 2016.

Review published in the Eastern Daily Press, 19 May 2016

When one time frontman for The Shrubs Nikolai Galen (then, Nick Hobbs) became
smitten by the songs of the Belgian singer, songwriter and actor Jacques Brel,
he looked about for a style and a forum for translating and interpreting some
of the huge catalogue.

And he found it. Acapella, spoken-sung poetry, free-improvisation, recitation,
performance – all in a one-man show alone on stage with a microphone and a
commanding presence that touched the heart, that puzzled and reflected life in
equal measure.

Songs such as ‘If You Go Away’, ‘Amsterdam’ and ‘Seasons in the Sun’ may be
familiar to British audiences, but Brel’s influence on artists as diverse as
David Bowie, Marc Almond, Scott Walker, Dusty Springfield and Celine Dion
speak to a wider legacy and Galen added his voice to the tributes.

Touching the heart with often dark melancholy, hope and pure love, he reached
‘hopeless, hopeless people’ asking ‘why do men grow tired of life?’ with the
high-points being a disturbing love plea, ‘Don’t Ever Leave Me’ and the
devil’s triumph, ‘All’s Well’.

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