Thursday, 13 December 2012

In Review: 'Deck the Hall' at Lancaster Castle


Amy Worth in Deck the Hall 2011

Review – Deck The Hall With Boughs Of Holly
Performed by Demi~Paradise Productions

Produced by Steve Tomlin
devised and compiled by Sue McCormick
directed by Sue McCormick and Sarah Thurston
music by Five in a Bar, directed by Jude Glendinning
The Shire Hall, Lancaster Castle

Wednesday 12 – Saturday 15 December 2012 at 7.30pm
Adults £13/ Children £6.50

Reviewed by Michael Nunn

Well, Demi~Paradise Productions certainly did what the title says – the Shire Hall looked splendidly bedecked with some fine, robust holly from Williamson’s Park, and the atmospheric space was suitably and subtly lighted to create a wonderful season atmosphere as soon as we walked through the door.

And the promise of a seasonal celebration was continued for some two hours with a delightful selection of prose, music and verse from across the centuries and throughout the world.  Sue McCormick’s thoughtful and varied choice of nearly thirty short pieces and songs vividly explored the whole range of emotions and the tensions of ‘this time of year.’  From Dickens to Joyce Grenfell, American writers and Dylan Thomas to a correspondent from 1914 and a specially-commissioned new pantomime, there was something to appeal to everybody.

The music, too, from female a capella group Five in a Bar directed by Jude Glendinning, included mediæval Wassails, later traditional carols and a number of modern ditties classical and otherwise.  The five readers’ offerings were neatly interspersed nicely with the songs, and all the readers participated effectively in some of the larger ensemble vocal pieces.

It would be pointless to highlight my own favourites as the Christmas Spirit moves each one of differently.  The excellent notion of serving mulled wine and mince pies in the interval also added to the essence and aroma of the evening’s entertainment.  On a bitterly cold, frosty night as we walked home, our ears were ringing with a happy mix of jolly tunes and evocative words.  We could still hear the words of Dickens and others, the timeless carols of the Christmas Spirits echoing in our ears and warming us inside.  And to crown this special Lancashire celebration, I could also sense the genial figure of Stanley Holloway smiling down on us all.

Copyright © Michael Nunn
11 December 2012

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