SIR GOWARD THE COWARD AND THE FEASTY BEASTY CAMBRIDGE SUMMER MUSIC
No set, no lighting, no supportive sound – but the children loved it. It is amazing how few props it takes to get youngsters hooked on a drama. The Evangelical Hall was frankly desperately short of the paraphernalia of performance perquisites but the result was nonetheless hilariously successful.
Sir Godward the Coward and the Feisty Beasty was a tale of Old England . Bumbling Sir Godward a clueless loser of a knight was on a quest to slay the dragon and win the hand of the fair princess.
“But him a man!” cried a three year old when the heavily wigged princess appeared – but there was a respectful hush as in the end Sir Goward won her heart. Full marks for turning the tiresome princess theme on its head in this production and parents pestered by princessy propaganda must have quietly cheered to see it sent up so savagely. It mattered not to the young audience - they knew the story well. Credit too for some brilliant buffoonery from Mathew Spring the star of the tale who cheerfully tolerated a virtual pitch invasion from the spectators and battled through 50 minutes of comic capers with nary a glitch. He is an expert in medieval instruments and played his impressive range of pipes and bells with panache (he once performed the Hurdy Gurdy Concerto- there is only one - in Munich.) The Crumhorn was in evidence too (it’s rather like a crude saxophone since you asked) and we all joined in a flash workshop to learn ‘Greensleeves’ – a thin rendition from the parents I thought. We need to buck up our Hey Nonny Nonny another time.
Sara Stowe is the other half of the Sirinu twosome of hugely learned early music specialists, but despite a heavenly singing voice and a dab hand on the harpsichord cannot be heard from the back of the hall or even halfway down it. Musically majorly gifted she does need to get to work on voice projection if the show is not to be a one-sided audio experience. That said rather brutally, the acoustics in the hall were ajusted for a congregation of heartfelt gospel inspired Sunday singers, not a solo woman’s voice. And frankly the children mainly at the front , were so caught up in the action, thrilled to be on stage ( en masse) and enamoured by the jousts they probably didn’t notice.
No review can be complete without mention of Simon Patterson as a brilliant bear. He loped in just in time to give that sense of bizarre unreality children adore. In character right to his springy exit.
A fun lunchtime on a rainy day, full marks for musical insight to Sirinu and a red rosette for kindness tolerance and cheerfulness under fire.