Thursday, July 19, 2012


HORRORTORIO and other eccentricities
Writtle Singers at All Saints' Church

A parasol over the pulpit for an ironical look at summer from the ever-inventive Writtle Singers. They trooped in, with their beachwear and their brochures, to Cliff's Summer Holiday, and whisked us off on Toch's Geographical Fugue, reprised at journey's end with Thurrock substituted for Titicaca, and a detour to the Mountains of Chelmsford. These peaks form part of The Shifty Land, Six Nasty Songs about Essex, by local writers Martin Taylor and David Lee: stylishly sung, and wonderfully cynical – I loved the Southend Road and the dark domestic tragedy of Reg's Frinton retirement.
Along the way, neatly shoe-horned into the concept, attractive arrangements of Cats and G&S.

And then the invites arrived – the interval bracketed by Swinglish Mozart and Mendelssohn marriage music – for the weird wedding of Dracula's daughter – superbly sung and acted by Jenny Haxell – and the Son of Frankenstein: Joseph Horovitz's Handelian spoof, with a nod to Kipling, Sullivan and Cage. The key here is deadpan delivery, and the Singers, under Christine Gwynn with Caroline Finlay at the piano, played it for all it was worth. Elizabeth Tiplin sang the Poe narrator role, with Gavin Oddy hard to forget as the Dowager Duchess – all the frocks and the fascinators followed a black and red theme. A creative hand had tweaked this work, too, with an Olympic moment and an encore for Private Willis [Peter Quintrell] serenading the two-headed Coalition freak offspring of Miss D and Martin Mason's Young Frankenstein.

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