THERE can’t be many artists who can get away with singing London Bridge is Falling Down while dressed as a priest and wearing a bejewelled crucifix being accompanied by a man playing a child’s toy piano.

But not only did Marc Almond get away with it, he turned the whole spectacle into something quite wonderful.

This show was one of a handful of live dates at which Almond and leading composer and saxophonist John Harle showcased their album looking at the dark side of London.

At times it was wonderful, at others bizarre and without Almond’s charismatic presence and voice to treasure it would have been a real test of patience.

With six great musicians and soprano Sarah Leonard behind them, Harle and Almond have come up with the dreaded concept album, full of gallows humour and ghastly goings on in the capital.

Almond is no stranger to concept albums, Soft Cell’s Non Stop Erotic Cabaret was, in effect, a concept album based around the seedy side of Soho.

But Almond fans, and there were plenty in the audience, expecting a reprise of Sex Dwarf could forget it.

Instead he brought true theatricality to songs about vampires and hangings, singing both his own black lyrics and those of William Blake.

He has always had a flair from the dramatic and the Grand Guignol-style and you could see the relish in his heavily mascara-d eyes as he stood at his makeshift pulpit or flitted around the stage like an evil spirit.

He even tried to get a Bridgewater audience involved in a little singalong involving Henry swinging from a tree - sadly without much success.

With Harle conducting in brocade frock coat and rattling off some mind numbing sax solos, they made an odd yet engaging couple.

The first half of the show had many scratching their heads as sans Almond, Harle and the musicians ran through a few numbers which were part Pink Floyd, part prog rock and perhaps best seen as an extended sound check.

But come the main event and the arrival of Mr Almond, the evening was saved.