Children’s Classic Concerts
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Sat 1 Dec; Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, Sun 16 Dec
He’s more at home behind the shop counter in Still Game, but this Christmas Sanjeev Kohli is branching out. Instead of hanging out with old boys Jack and Victor he’ll be doing it for the kids with Children’s Classic Concerts.
Backed by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in Glasgow and the Orchestra of Scottish Opera in Edinburgh, Kohli will narrate the festive poem, The Night Before Christmas. ‘I come from a comedy writing and performing background, and it’s the most cynical place to live,’ says Kohli. ‘So it’s nice at Christmas time to put your cynicism on a high shelf and just become a child again.’
With three young children himself, Kohli is putting in the practise at bedtime, but is still slightly in awe of those who have gone before him – in particular Stephen Fry, who narrated a concert with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra earlier this year. ‘Stephen’s a hero of mine and his voice is like oral fruit cake, whereas mine is more like Rich Tea,’ says Kohli. ‘So I’m going to have to raise it to at least a Jaffa Cake for the concerts.’
Although he’s sure to get the odd laugh on stage, Kohli is aware the poem doesn’t have quite the comic bite of a Still Game script. ‘I don’t think there’s any comedy in there really, and it will be a challenge for me not to have that to rely on,’ says Kohli. ‘It’s just about making the kids eyes go like dinner plates and infusing them with that magic. If the kids are happy, then you know you’ve done a good job.’