glorious curtain-raiser to the Jubilee celebrations, this Choral
Foundation concert was a reminder of the wonderful music heard in
Westminster Abbey when our Queen was crowned.
a reconstruction, of course. The Abbey boasted 400 voices, and here
there were more brass players than men's voices. But a showcase of
the great British music, which, across the centuries, has accompanied
this solemn ritual, set in historical context by a commentary from
the Reverend Prebendary William Scott.
with the stirring bombast of Parry's I Was Glad, written for Edward
VII, and heard last year at the Royal Wedding. There was Crown
Imperial, too, and Zadok the Priest, as well as Walton's Coronation
Te Deum, which received its first performance that June day, as did
Dyson's joyful Confortare, Harris's Gradual and Healey Willan's O
Lord Our Governour. Choral music from the age of the first Elizabeth
was represented by Byrd's beautiful Sing Joyfully, sung by the boys
and men. The twentieth century gave us Vaughan Williams' O Taste and
See, with a striking treble solo, and Stanford's exhilarating Gloria
[George V]. The whole Cathedral rose to sing The Old Hundredth, and
Gordon Jacob's Coronation arrangement of the National Anthem.
Cathedral Choir and Consort, with the Westminster Brass and Simon
Lawford at the organ, were conducted by Oliver Waterer.
next special occasion from the Choral Foundation is an eagerly
awaited appearance by The Swingle Singers, coming to the Cathedral on
Shakespeare Company at Brentwood Theatre
was Shakespeare's earliest play. It has the smallest cast. And
frankly, it's not one of his finest.
Shakespeare chose to set it in a garden, with Mozart muzak throughout
– the al-fresco world of Fiordiligi and Figaro. This adventurous
approach was easy on the eye, with some wonderful costumes, and it
had several splendid spin-offs: Alan Ablewhite's lisping fop, Lindsey
Crutchett's Restoration parvenue Panthina, desperate for her Proteus
to better himself.
wasn't convinced by Mark Griffiths' lumpen proletarian – certainly
not a gentleman "and well derived" in the Shakespearean
sense. But it did allow a nice contrast with Andrew Hewitt's
supercilious Valentine, with his snobbish smile. Their girls were
similarly distinct – Helen Sinclair's pert Julia [a splendid
"Sebastian", too] and Natalie Sant's elegant Silvia, by far
the best speaker of the verse.
there was sometimes a fatal failure to move the lines forward, and
laughs were in short supply, though Elliott Porte, as a lugubrious
Lance, working with Harvey, the stand-in Crab, delivered his speeches
impeccably, while achieving a real rapport with his audience.
charming, gently revolutionary comedy was directed by Vernon
of our best-respected tribute artists – already a hit here with his
Real Diamond back in March – John Hylton brought us his Paul Simon
at the height of last week's heatwave.
a red baseball cap obscuring his Diamond hair and most of his face,
he brought with him to the Civic a four-piece backing band and, of
course, his Art Garfunkel, aka Allen, his son.
was some half-hearted banter, but it was the music the fans had come
for, and they were not short-changed, starting with A Hazy Shade of
Winter and ending in party mood with Cecilia.
between, most of the favourites – 59th Street Bridge
Song, The Boxer, a nice Mrs Robinson, a rather muddy Scarborough
Fair, an excellently realised Sound of Silence and Bridge Over
Troubled Water, with the long intro from impressive keyboard man J
Black - upright piano and primitive Korg Triton.
unexpected treats, too: the Everlys' Bye Bye Love, Bert Jansch's hit
Anji, and Father and Daughter, with a great guitar intro from Gary
Millen. But, alas, not So Long Frank Lloyd Wright, which the lady in
the front row would dearly have loved to hear ...
me, these "proper songs, with real lyrics" might have been
better appreciated without the stadium-strength sound system that
seems to come as standard these days; but there was no doubting the
excellent musicianship of father and son, not to mention their even
more laid-back band, and the enthusiasm of the audience for what is
probably the nearest we'll ever get now to this legendary duo live in
last of the 2012 Festival's popular lunchtime concert series in the
Assembly House was given by the La Mer Trio, formed in 2010.
a varied, enjoyable programme, which featured Takemitsu as well as a
new commission, they proved adventurous, imaginative musicians.
new piece was Triptyque de la Lande, by Thomas Oehler, who was with
us in the Assembly House for the performance. It was inspired by a
moorland in Brittany, the three movements each evoking an image from
that landscape. The first, Triskele, began with the harp softly
strumming, then, after broken rhythms and truncated phrases, it
developed urgent motifs which eventually sank back in repose. Dolmen
had the viola's lower register in soliloquy, with commentaries from
flute and harp gradually asserting themselves, before the lively
closing Korrigan dance.
Takemitsu – "And Then I Knew 'Twas Wind" - inhabits a
different, dreamlike landscape, enhanced today by birdsong from
outside the open windows. A homage to Claude Debussy, it also
includes unusual effects on all three instruments, as well as many of
Takemitsu's trademark devices. Phrases were echoed and deformed,
before flute and viola moved towards unison and the unanswered
question at the end.
favourite landscape, though, was Bax's Edwardian watercolour world,
his Elegiac Trio meandering through a post-romantic pastoral,
beautifully evoked in a polished performance.
Baroque was represented by a Leclair Trio Sonata, with its
deliciously lazy largo Sarabande and energetic finale.
ended their programme with a soundscape closer to their Debussy
origins: Ravel's familiar Tombeau de Couperin, crystal clear in this
chamber version, with especially eloquent phrasing from the flute in
La Mer Trio, all award-winning graduates from the Academy and
Guildhall, are Renate
Sokolovska, flute, Maja Wegrzynowska, viola and Hannah Stone, harp.
what Hugh Whitemore does best. Plays with words, often from letters
or memoirs, using the magic of theatre to shed new light on figures
from our recent history.
less that a lifetime since Hugh Gaitskell was leader of the Labour
opposition, criticising the Tories for their eagerness to wage war in
the Middle East, under the "delusion that we are still a world
power". An unlikely lover for the attractive wife of Bond
creator Ian Fleming, you might think. But this fascinating rummage
around the Suez crisis convinces us that beneath the stiff shirts and
the severe raincoats there beat hearts both vulnerable and
passionate. As many of the matinée audience would recall, this was
the way we handled emotions back then – quietly, with dignity and a
stiff upper lip.
LePrevost's rumpled Gaitskell was utterly believable, as was Anthony
Andrews' ailing Eden, though his tired, hooded eyes were more
reminiscent of his successor, Supermac.
elegant womenfolk were Imogen Stubbs as Ann Fleming,
Cruttenden as the PM's loving Clarissa.
for me, the acting honours went to Martin Hutson's principled,
determined Nutting, who resigns rather than support his government's
stance, and Simon Dutton's slightly louche, weary Fleming, neighbour
of "Chinese Nell" [Coward] whose brittle, oblique dramatic
style is echoed in several of the dialogues here.
is a wordy piece, and lacks a clear dramatic arc, perhaps, though
Eden's artist, atheist father is a potent device. Without
Chichester's stylish production – the bombing and the ballroom
dancing, the revolves and the Fifties frocks – it might flounder
under the weight of history and gossip. Nonetheless, the parallels we are
left to draw – Blair and Selwyn Lloyd [the excellent David Yelland]
both went to Fettes – are salutary, and the seaboard encounter
between the convalescent Eden and the pugilist Prescott is an
improbable treat – but, like Gaitskell's love of ballroom dancing,
not too good to be true at all, apparently ...
Theatre Club at the Barn Theatre Little Easton
is Godber in heritage mode; an autobiographical plod through the
postwar years, ending in the miners' battle with Thatcher in the 80s,
when the piece was written.
not sure that linear chronology, with characters flagging up the year
in slightly forced narration, is the most potent dramatic device. But
the Greville's remarkable revival, produced and directed by Jan Ford,
made the most of the play's undoubted strengths.
music, for instance, those "old time records", 78s up in
the attic, was effectively used – from The Trolley Song to Bowie –
and the set, with exquisite simplicity, echoed the misty-eyed view of
the pits, with flying ducks, replaced by Paul's graduation portrait,
the only ornament [design by Richard Pickford and Steve Bradley].
story centres on the Parker sisters, and traces their parallel lives
from flirty dances at the Welfare Hall to frosty silence and
isolation. Carol Parradine and Diana Bradley both gave outstanding
performances in these demanding roles. The accent, the attitude, the
clothes [Judy Lee] were all impressively convincing: Annie's raw
grief as she hears of her husband's death, May's stormy love/hate
relationship with her son, the writer, were strongly delineated in
wonderfully sustained character work.
menfolk, the miners, were Adam Thompson as the father, stoically
loyal to the NCB even as it destroyed his health, and Chris Kearney
as Roy, killed underground just as his dream of a paper shop is about
to come true.
mobility is one of the themes of the piece; Paul, good with words,
several degrees at Sussex, leaves home, his friends and his childhood
sweetheart for the Big Smoke. He had too much narration for my taste,
but was engagingly played by Jonathan Scripps, who had a good feel
for Godber's wry humour. Kay, the girl he left behind, was
excellently done by Sonia Lindsey-Scripps. The moment, at the Silver
Wedding, when she first realised that her mortgage and her microwave
were no substitute for her "Milk Tray Man" was typical of a
meticulous exploration of this contradictory character; there was
plenty of fun, too, with early fumblings to the sound of paso doble,
and the alluring promise of a taste of her Terry's Chocolate
also played the mysterious Cherry, the metropolitan girl who replaces
Kay in Paul's affections.
Plumridge was the laddish Tosh [né Edward], and Lynda Shelverton
played a couple of northern neighbours.
production was typically painstaking – I admired the stage pictures
– May's first entrance with the [? Silver Cross] pram just one
example – and the freezes – Harry picking up his feet for May's
young women shouting down through the rock to their men in the mine
was followed by a nicely expressionistic scene underground.
at the end, what ? May and Harry turn sixty ["wi' nowt to look
forward to"]. They share the domestic chores, he does his DIY,
but there'll be no more Paris or Yugoslavia, we suspect, as her
illness and her paranoia take hold. Estranged son Paul turns up on
her birthday, with Cherry, an olive branch and a red rose. But she'll
have none of it, and retires to her room. Then, in a strange coda,
the sisters, long separated by a political tiff, are reunited; the
trip to the Carvery, and the southern girlfriend, are embraced in
what I suspect is an ironic happy ending, with the dramatist as deus
ex machina. No such optimism for the coal industry, which seemed to
believe almost to the ignominious end that "people'll always
need coal". I don't know what became of the Astoria, but this
Welfare Hall is, happily, now a thriving Playhouse, with Pygmalion
playing this week.
of the Earth's run at the Greville had sold out before opening night,
testament to the reputation of the Greville and its unique
auditorium, if not to the pulling power of Big John Godber.
and Olivier, Sinden and Sher, Nigel Hawthorne, Simon Russell Beale –
so many memorable Malvolios. But none, I'm sure, got under the skin
of the steward as successfully as Tim Crouch, in a wonderful
one-man-show of his own devising.
actually the fourth of his Shakespeare solos, with Cinna [the poet]
to come later this year.
houselights are never completely dimmed; we, the audience, are Sir
Toby Belch, we represent the forces of disorder and misrule, with
Malvolio the lone, sane voice of reason. And there's no shortage of
latter-day cakes and ale for him to rail against – slouching,
binge-drinking, inappropriate dress – the way he says "DVD"
makes it sound like the distasteful work of the devil.
the best tradition of stand-up, the innocent are singled out: reading
the programme, blowing one's nose, laughing, all ruthlessly pounced
that funny, do you ? Is that the sort of thing you find funny ?"
is his refrain, for all the world like an old-time schoolmaster. At
other times he's Basil Fawlty, or the nutter on the bus – "I
am not mad ..." - with Olivia's discarded letter the catalyst
for a priceless rant about litter – "a godless mass of filth".
between comedy and pain," he advises, encouraging a lad in the
second row [still wearing his school uniform] to come up on stage and
kick his proffered arse. And that's the melancholy magic of this
unsettling monologue: we laugh at this wretched "funny, funny
man", but shift uncomfortably in our seats, knowing that
laughter can easily turn to bullying and bear-baiting, as our hero is
"hideously abused". Some moments are very bleak, but even
the hangman's noose is testing tragi-comedy, with two more
'volunteers' up on stage, Joe to hold the rope, Lizzie poised to pull
away the bentwood chair.
starts off in his grimy, fantastical, prison garb, with a red wattle
under his chin and "Turkey Cock" pinned to his back. By the
end he is his Puritan self again, and is cleverly "revenged on
the whole pack of you".
the way he unpacks the mad "improbable fiction" of the plot
of Twelfth Night, and explores the dark despair of lost love, the
struggle between order and anarchy, and the cruel comedy of Illyria
and the playhouse.
Methodist Music and Drama at the Civic Theatre
punchy, polished revival of a rather tired show, with too many so-so
songs. And this new version has not improved it
much – I used rather to like the old Military Canal.
it was clear from Kipps' first entrance – stepping shyly into the
spotlight to tell us his story and paint us the pictures – that
this was a production that would draw us in and keep us entertained.
Holland was the draper in question – rather fresh-faced to convince
as the oldest apprentice in the business, but a very engaging
all-rounder. His childhood sweetheart, who comes to find him in the
wilds of Folkestone, was superbly played by Charlotte Reed. They
headed a large cast, notable for including many new faces, and for
being impressive in depth, from the Walsingham family right down to
the deckchair man cum photographer.
liked Joe Gray's left-wing apprentice, and Tony Brett's bibulous
Chitterlow. The skinflint Shalford was given the full Dickensian
treatment by Trinity stalwart Tony Court.
dressed – in the Floral Hall especially – the chorus sang and
moved with style and energy. The musical director was Gerald Hindes,
the production was by Cathy Court, and the set design – a simple
sixpence sliced in two – was by Paul Lazell.
daughter and her nervous mother receive no gentlemen callers. The
embarrassing man in their life leaves the home to drink in cheap
taverns and shady bars, and brings home unsuitable friends to play
cards. Magazine subscriptions are sold to a "circle" over
Tennessee territory ? Well, this is the feel-good comedy Williams
never wrote: Mary Chase's ever-popular Harvey.
is the one – best known as a Jimmy Stewart vehicle on celluloid –
about Elwood P, whose imaginary friend is 6 foot 1, and has holes in
his hat where his ears poke through.
her début as a director, Claire Hilder wisely assembled an
experienced team of all the talents. Lionel Bishop was "the
biggest screwball in town", giving a wonderful study of this oh
so pleasant philanthropist – a laid-back, almost throwaway
performance, but exuding childlike innocence and naïve charm.
useless shrinks who fail to turn our harmless hero into a "perfectly
normal human being" were Darren Matthews as Sanderson and Paul
Sparrowham, predictably excellent as Chumley: his closing scene with
Dowd – Pittsburgh and maple trees – was beautifully delivered.
Tirmizey played the distraught mother, Emma Feeney her frustrated
daughter. Plenty of pleasure to be had from the supporting cast,
including Bob Thompson's taxi driver, Alan Thorley's judge and Sacha
Flory's feisty nurse.
clever set design – by the director and Dr Sanderson – swivelled
to allow a reasonably seamless cross-fade from family mansion to
funny farm, and the incidental music [Happy Days Are Here Again]
neatly established period and mood.
visits to the bijou Brentwood venue sometimes recall a regular
old-style repertory company: familiar, friendly faces playing a range
of styles and roles over a season. This week, for instance, our two
doctors and our Myrtle May, not to mention one of the lady callers
and the director herself, were to be seen on this same stage just
days ago in College Players' hugely entertaining Roxy Krasner.
young couples, each with two small children in tow, find themselves
"glamping" in adjacent canvas chalets on a Welsh farm. And
as the dirt and feathers are scrubbed from the "organic, free
range" eggs, so their careful social façades crack and
sort of tragi-comic exploration of middle-class angst is usually born
and raised in Scarborough, so it's refreshing to welcome Michael
Wynne to the club, in his first play for Chichester.
wasn't sure about the tone at times, and the happy coda didn't quite
ring true, but Angus Jackson's production was faultless, with an
outstanding set, with real mud, and, you've guessed it, three
successive kitchens for the three contrasting couples. And an able
cast of campers.
Hadland was the cringe-makingly awful, organized Bridget, Elliot
Levey her pathetic ex.
first couple we meet, and the most likeable, were Dean Lennox Kelly's
Alan, all pent-up aggression, and Lucy Montgomery, excellent as the
reluctant glamper Justine. Oliver Milburn managed a nicely repulsive
charm as City dentist Alistair; his long-suffering, demanding Amanda
was played with a toxic smile by Hattie Ladbury.
the cast were two tired children, a stray hen and Bronwyn from the
farm, played with growing despair and distress by Lisa Palfrey.
a zombie stealing the Ark of the Covenant!!!" They do still
write dialogue like that, I'm glad to say, and the anonymous ["…
is he Greek ?"] screenwriter behind this Roxy Krasner sequel has
come up with a wickedly entertaining confection. Think Indiana Jones
done over as a 39 Steps style spoof, and you'll start to get the B
picture. There were also a couple of dance routines and a weird
Sapphic subplot, all expertly "produced and directed" by
Sue Welch and Nick Wilkes.
the show was a triumph, with a lovely wide set, brilliant back
projections and an impressive pair of female facilities.
strong cast embraced the OTT style, none more successfully than Paul
Sparrowham as the lecherous Limelight Larry – his striptease and
cover-up a comic highlight. Roxy herself, talking novel and secretary
sidekick, was engagingly done by Lindsey Hollingsworth, with Darren
Matthews as her granite-jawed detective. Excellent work too from Emma
Feeney as Cleo Cartwright, Mariam Uddin as the undercover reporter
Holly Woods and Hannah James as Goldie, Queen of the Nile. Best
support – Stephen Bracken-Keogh's dyspeptic telegram man, and, well
worth waiting for, a double cameo from June Fitzgerald and Elaine
Laight as the Salmon Sisters.
promised a third episode, and indeed were treated to a slick trailer
before the credits rolled.
year's Altogether Now Festival includes three drama productions: Bank
Job, from the quirky pen of actor James Christie, and a revised
revival of Writtle Cards' Always Odds On, written by Nick Caton.
to open the Festival, this brand new Sherlock Holmes mystery, adapted
by Roger Johnson from his own short story. From our mystery city
centre location we look out to see, not Baker Street but, through
century-old limes, the Fleece Inn and St Mary's Church.
is the story of one Henry Staunton [Johnson], patron of the arts and
inveterate gambler, and his lost golden chalice. Unwisely perhaps, he
calls in, not Vince Webb's plodding Lestrade, but Holmes [Jim
Crozier] and his trusty Watson [Dave Hawkes], whose sharp minds are
quickly on the tracks of the thief.
a witty, convincing radio script, opening with the great detective
"in the dumps" as Watson reads out titbits from The
Thunderer. The cavernous venue has just the right acoustic for the
grisly scene in Stoke Newington mortuary, and the atmosphere is
suitably enhanced by the sound of the Sherlock violin ...
muscular Macbeth first took to the stage at the Edinburgh Festival
last year. Its great strength is the design: a vast red cloth, dark
vertical beams, with blood-red gashes to mark each death on the
tyrant's path to power. And a prominent super-moon, eclipsed or
overlaid with gore and portents. All underscored with massive music
show is a little longer than it might be, despite the swift pace,
since we have messy skirmishes at the start as well as the end, and
we see Banquo's banquet twice, from two angles, either side of the
interval. This youthful Banquo's death and resurrection were
strikingly done, though, and Matthew Bloxham's performances [he was
also the Doctor and a paralytic Northern porter] were among the best.
I liked Sophie Brooke's Lady M, wanton, languorous and wild-eyed from
the start. She too played many parts; characters became witches or
assassins in the swish of a cloak. Joel Gorf was Macbeth. He had a
commanding presence, and interacted interestingly with the weird
sisters, but whereas some speeches ["is this a dagger"]
were impressive, some were garbled or thrown away ["murdered
very different pieces [I loved the individual
poster design for each one – uncredited, as far as I could see],
each with some moments to savour.
McGibney's Beth, scoffing the Pringles on her hotel bed as vacation
chaos relentlessly erupts around her, in Joe Kennedy's farcical chunk
of California Suite. If Tarantino did Whitehall farce ...
chilling final minute of The Edge, directed by John Mabey. It's a
patchy little play, with too much exposition but some nicely spooky
psychological twists. And that dénouement faultlessly handled by
Mike Nower and Roger Saddington.
Quigley's choice was Joining The Club, a clever piece of social
observation which managed to get its laughs despite some indistinct,
By The Half is Jimmie Chinn's wryly affectionate look at an ageing
actress [Sara Nower excellent as the haughty, dotty Thorndike figure]
and her grumpy dresser [Barbara Llewellyn]. Joanna Windley-Poole
directed, and also played the estranged daughter who has sad news to
entertaining, varied evening, with something for everyone, raising
funds for UNICEF and providing a chance for a dozen talented
actors to have their turn in the limelight.
restored Victorian Goods Shed at Chappel is not an ideal theatre
space: no proper blackout, draughty, with noisy heaters never really
beating the chill.
what an evocative setting for this what-if World War II tale; a
guard's waggon stage left, and over our heads, an old station clock,
relentlessly, defiantly ticking away the time [our time, not Jerry's
alien daylight saving].
Resistance tells the story of the Auxiliary Units, small bands of
local men [and boys] who would harass the foe from within, attacking
from behind the lines, keeping Britain fighting while we waited for
the Yanks to finish off Pacific business and ride to our rescue.
railway plays a key role in the story: the "only real noise"
to ruffle this rural idyll twenty miles north of Chelmsford,
transporting "liberated" art works and Jewish families, and
the focus of the sabotage for the May Day Uprising of 1943. What
would the Suffolk maquis have made of the viaduct just up the line …
is my third look at Ivan Cutting's Home Front alternative history.
The ensemble playing is, if anything, still stronger, with glances
and half-formed sentences conveying so much. And the second half,
which seemed a little wordy at Wivenhoe, now seems an intriguing
exploration of the nature of occupation, of collaboration, of gender
roles and family ties. The final sequence, with the only survivor
looking back at those dark, dangerous days, is a moving coda to this
story of a very British guerilla war.
a teenager, I sniggered over Richard Gordon's comic novel, and later
enjoyed the Pinewood movie version. Now Simon Sparrow and his chums
are touring the land in a broad farce, written by Richard Gordon and
Ted Willis, and directed by Ian Talbot.
hint of irony here, as the characters shout the lines and vie to
out-play each other. There's a cod melodrama, a stalled seduction
scene, but precious little medical banter, unless you count the
hospital porter diagnosed half-undressed on the kitchen table.
Paul Farnsworth has come up with a lovely set of student digs, where
all the action takes place, so that Sir Lancelot [a dapper Robert
Powell] and Matron [the formidable Gay Soper] are forced to slum it
with the young medics. The large supporting cast included Peter
Dunwell, excellent as the larger-than-life porter Bromley, and Rachel
Baynton as the demure but determined Janet.
[Phillip Langhorne] and his friend John [Tom Butcher] are rather
eclipsed by Joe Pasquale's Grimsdyke. He draws the bits of plot
together in hindsight, looking back from his Mayfair practice at his
days at St Swithin's. The audience willingly suspended its disbelief,
though as Joe admitted, accepting him as a doctor was "a big
ask". But, miked up, mugging and ad-libbing, he did provide some
of the biggest laughs of an undemanding evening's entertainment.
Jim Hutchon was immersed in the 80s Disco scene ...
Catherine Kenton and Jenny Almond went for a mainly hilarious take on
this 80s comment on night life. Four men took on more than twenty
parts, as bouncers, then giggling girls preparing for a night on the
pull, then blokes downing 14 pints to pluck up the courage to get to
the disco and get some flesh.
Mabey was Judd, with the intellect of a “painted-on brain” ,
James Christie was Les, a Glaswegian with clearly a penchant for
meaningless violence, Barrie Taylor was Ralph, most in touch with his
feminine side, though he exuded a hidden menace. Elder of the tribe,
was David Hawkes, as Lucky Eric, who had seen it all and, in a speech
which, for me, was the high point of the drama, extolled the sadness
behind the façade. The setting was an ‘in the round’ disco
complete with blinding lights and thundering sound.
was totally immersive theatre, with the pace and volume being forced
upwards as the overworked four slipped seamlessly between bouncers
and flouncers and punters and hunters. As the volume reached the
threshold of pain, the audience were shot from their seats onto the
dance floor in a whirling melange of colour.
all the many versions of this play that I have seen, I really felt,
for the first time, that they had nailed it.
of a departure for Little Baddow, this assembly of prose, poetry and
music on the theme of hotels from all corners of the earth was, above
all civilised and often thought provoking. Some of the pieces were
from familiar pens – Dickens, Belloc, Trollope, Bennett (Arnold)
and Bennett (Alan). But others were either totally obscure or not
noted for this sort of treatise.
five readers were Michael Gray and Rita Ronn (who co-produced the
evening) plus Caroline Ogden, Ken Rolf and Allison Tibbatts.
Interspersed with the readings were songs from the gifted duet of
Kate Knight and Roy Sach, who provided appropriate melodious
commentary on the proceedings.
beautifully-crafted, odd and some frankly very strange pieces
reflected the wide-ranging search which had gone into the unearthing
material for this. I could have done with, perhaps more variation,
many of the pieces were erudite and often funny but generally
delivered in standard book-reading English. There were some
variations: Ken Rolf made a passable stab at Bryson American, and
Michael Gray did a fair Bennett (Alan).
managed to cram no less than 40 pieces into two stage hours, tho’ I
felt the material couldn’t really sustain that length of
production. Perhaps fewer, with longer pauses and a longer finger
buffet interval would have helped. But this was, nonetheless a very
enjoyable and civilised evening.