|A Christmas Cracker|
Piano: Patrick Taylor
Mezzo Soprano: Carolyn Harries
Flutes: Ruth Molins
Readings & Poetry: Patrick Romer
Following two successful performances, at Aeolian Court in Chudleigh and Lustleigh Parish Church, "A Christmas Cracker" came to the Bridge Inn in Topsham.
Patrick Taylor was at the piano, assisted by his wife Michal, while Carolyn Harries sang, Ruth Molins played the flute, and actor Patrick Romer performed readings and poetry.
The combination was perfect.
In the 'sitting room' of the inn the audience were very comfortable. The new wood-burning stove is extremely efficient and everyone was warm as toast. Drinks were served at the bar and there was a choice of straight-backed chairs or luxurious armchairs.
The music ranged widely, taking in Thomas Ravenscroft, Gustav Holst, J S Bach and, of course, Tchaikovsky. Carolyn Harries sang solo songs, and also sang with piano and/or flute accompaniment. Ruth Molins played two lovely pieces from Tchaikovsky's 'Nutcracker Suite': 'Dance of the Reed Pipes' for regular flute, and 'Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy' for piccolo flute.
Special guest for the evening was actor Patrick Romer. Patrick bacame a member of the repertory company at Exeter Northcott Theatre back in the 1970s and performed in over 60 productions before working with the National Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company.
Patrick's repertoire seemed endless. There was Shakespeare, of course. Thomas Hardy (Under the Greenwood Tree), John Milton (L'Allegro), Hilary Mantel (Bring up the Bodies), T. S. Eliot (Journey of the Magi), Walter de la Mare (The Listeners), Dylan Thomas (The Carol Singers).
After the interval Patrick really got into his stride. Hardy's 'Absent-mindedness in the parish choir' was utterly entrancing. The story of the village choristers falling asleep, and accidentally launching into a bawdy ale-house song during the Christmas day service, was a comic play in miniature - with just one actor taking all the parts. Carolyn Harries joined with 'The Devil among the Tailors' to give us the full flavour.
Benjamin Zephaniah's 'Talking Turkeys!!' gave us food for thought as we prepare for Christmas dinner. There was also time for some D H Lawrence and Charles Dickens - and finally, and very appropriately, Prospero's speech (to Ferdinand) in Shakespeare's 'Tempest'. "Our revels are now ended. These our actors, as I foretold you, were all spirits and are melted into air, into thin air."
The audience, who sang several carols as the show went along, finished the concert in style with 'We wish you a merry Christmas'.
What could be better?
To hear Patrick in action - tune in to this week's 'Classical Journey'
10am Christmas Eve
|Mezzo Soprano & Flute|
Carolyn Harries & Ruth Molins
|Mezzo Soprano & Poetry|
Carolyn Harries & Patrick Romer
|Dance of the Flutes|
|The Sugar Plum Fairy|
|Singing & Percussion|
|The Happy Band|
Ruth Molins: Flute
Carolyn Harries: Mezzo Soprano
Patrick Romer: Poetry & Reading
Patrick Taylor: Piano
And a couple of lovely shots by Chris Avis:
|Patrick Romer regales us all|
|Ruth Molins wets the whistle|