Tag: Hall for Cornwall

Boleyn along

If only all history lessons could be as sparky, bright and entertaining as the English Touring Theatre’s production of Anne Boleyn, playing all this week at Hall For Cornwall. With minstrels in the gallery, a hugely talented all-singing all-dancing cast, a humdinger of a script and a marvellous brew of humour and drama this is a show not to be missed.
It is true ensemble theatre with many of the actors doubling, or even tripling, up. Their delivery and timing bring out all the best in Howard Brenton‘s sparkling lines, which provide a whole new perspective on the convoluted tale of Anne Boleyn’s tempestuous relationship with Henry VIII. It is theatre in which the silences and pauses are as telling and forceful as the words themselves.
To single out any actors in such a consistently strong cast seems almost unfair on the rest. But especial praise must go to Claire Bond, who provides a zesty, feisty Boleyn, whimsical, manipulative and courageously pugnacious in her unrelenting fight for religious freedom, and to James Garnon as the Tourette’s afflicted King James who almost steals the show with his madcap rantings and hilarious cavortings.
All in all, a wonderful night of theatre and a show not to be missed from its surprise beginning to its boisterous end.

A last Last Night

On Saturday, at the Royal Albert Hall, the nationalistic fervour of The Last Night of the Proms ended with thousands of flag-waving Brits singing Rule Britannia under the leadership of a Czech conductor and a soprano from the United States.
Last night, in the Hall for Cornwall, the local version of this hardy annual saw battle hymns sung as the Cornish waved their national flag and rallied against their neighbours across the border in Devon. Patriotism is alive and well in England’s far southwest and the evening was greatly enlivened by this call to arms against traditional foes.
Following the pattern set by the London Prom season finale, the first half of the evening was as close to serious as these occasions ever get with excursions into the classical and operatic realms from Camborne Town Band and singers from Duchy Opera. The band showed why it is regularly among the Britain’s top-ranked performers with a mix of rousing pieces and some delicately fresh arrangements of old favourites.
Polished solo performances from the band’s own ranks and much-travelled soprano Cheryl Brendish (she once sang with the tragically defunct Victorian State Opera) added to the enjoyment. The chorus, however, was sadly underpowered and seemed to have undergone a charisma bypass.
Post-interval we were treated to all the usual Last Night hand-clapping, flag-waving and full-throated singing of the Radetsky March, Jerusalem, Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory. And so we wandered off into the night fully cheered – and ready to do battle against any invading hordes from the north.
Who needs the Albert Hall when the HFC can put on a show like this?

An old faithful

The corn is still as “high as an elephant’s eye” and may even be getting cornier as time rolls by, but Oklahoma keeps on rolling across stages around the world and last week bumped into the Hall for Cornwall for a short but energetic stay.
It was like greeting an old friend and it seemed most of the audience felt the same with feet tapping and fingers drumming as the cast launched into one timeless favourite after another. Few among us would have been seeing the show for the first, or even second, time.
The format was similar to that used by the Production Company in Melbourne – small cast, a basic one-scene-fits-all set and only one scene change in order to thrust poor old Jud Fry’s smokehouse into the limelight.
The cast was similar, too, in that touring shows like this provide work experience and a rung on the showbiz ladder for the up and comers. And so we got a high energy show from a bunch of multi-skilled and talented youngsters (some of them fresh out of drama school) who looked as if they were enjoying themselves every bit as much as the audience.
A couple of old-timers in Marti Webb and Pete Gallagher added stability and balance, helping to smooth over a few rough edges.
An oldie but a goody with the orchestra just about winning the race to the final joyful note.