Monday, 21 March 2011

Personally Speaking

In the photo, Maggie Mash as Miss Brodie is speaking to Lynn Thornton as the headmistress in an extract from Muriel Spark's novel The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.

It was difficult to squeeze into the capacious front room where the second house event took place, in spite of the fact that the chairs were “smaller than last year”. Knee-in-the-lower-back situations seem to have been rare, however, and the huge audience was very appreciative throughout – a happy genie that did not mind being bottled up. It was wonderfully entertained by Wordsong and by a number of guest performers.

Wordsong consists of Maggie Mash and Lynn Thornton with pianist John Holt. Their programme was divided up into five sections. Early family influences had poems by John Siddique, Philip Larkin (yes, that one), Carol Rumens, Grace Nichols, Lis Bertolla and Peter Spafford; Education and friends had a tale from Gervaise Phinn’s recollections, Juan taught me by Lucy Newlyn, extracts from The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark and Lynn Barber’s An Education, W H Auden’s O Tell Me the Truth about Love (music by Dankworth) and a poem by local lad Terry Simpson – Did Those Feet in Ancient Times Walk in Woodhouse?

Love and marriage featured the work of Wendy Cope, Vicki Feaver, Sophie Hannah, Dorothy Parker, Carol Ann Duffy, Bob Dorough and Imtiaz Dharker, Beliefs and attitudes began with an excerpt from Climbing the Bookshelves by Shirley Williams, continuing with Liz Lochhead’s Mo, Pied Beauty by Gerard Manley Hopkins, Mystic Fiddler by Terry Simpson, My Carbon Footprint by Lynn Thornton and Nigel Wears, arranged by John Holt, and a chunk of Trollope’s Barchester Towers.

Adrian Mitchell’s Human Beings was the only poem in the final section, and the show closed with Cole Porter’s Anything Goes

Efficiently organised and superbly performed!

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