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Archive for February 5th, 2007

Trinity Guildhall Showcase

There was a Trinity Guildhall Scottish Showcase concert in Perth Concert Hall last night.     Lots of young musicians from all over Scotland.

 In a very varied evening, I was particularly impressed with our local Perth Youth Orchestra who ably performed two pieces, and the String group from St Mary’s Music School in Edinburgh who played Britten’s Simple Symphony wonderfully well.   It is not simple at all, of course.

I really enjoy watching youth groups, particularly youth orchestras  perform.   They bring a freshness and excitement that can be sometimes lacking in performances by professionals.     

This was the second Scottish Showcase – I hope there will be more.

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Caucasian Chalk Circle

It is always interesting to see a (UK) National Theatre production in these parts – if only to benchmark Scottish productions against London.

This version of the Caucasian Chalk Circle seen at Dundee Rep was a collaboration between NT and Filter Theatre Company.    A busy cast of 9 mostly playing many characters tell the story of an abandoned child, how it is adopted by peasant Grusha, and what happens when its biological mother turns up.     The cast also create a wonderful soundscape as the piece progresses – fascinating to watch.   They might have resorted to recorded sound, but done live, it really gave the piece an edge.

It is quite a long evening, but hugely entertaining and enjoyable.    The production is on tour, and I would recommend catching it in Liverpool, Aberystwyth, Brecon, Bristol, Warwick and the NT in London.

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Little Foxes

A small party of us went to see the Director’s Preview of Little Foxes at Perth Theatre.    A Director’s Preview is the last show before opening night, and first one open to the public at a reduced rate.    These shows usually run well, although one sometimes has to allow for ‘settling down’ which will come from running a show for a few nights.

Little Foxes, famous for the film version, and less famous opera “Regina” is a Lillian Helman play about greed and money and bad behaviour in the Deep South in the late 19th centuary.

The Perth production had a couple of very good central performers particularly from Irene McDougall (on loan from Dundee Rep) as Regina.    The direction from Ian Grieve was sound, and it was interesting to see Monika Nisbit’s costume design in Perth for the first time.     Becky Minto’s set was very authentic, although the staircase must have been a nightmare for the actors in those frocks.    Accents ranged from good to only so-so, but the play held the attention well.

Perth Theatre has been going through a sticky patch recently, and could do with more productions like this.   Recommended as an improvement.

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Three coffins

On Saturday there was a huge funeral service for the three members of the Melville family who were killed in a car accident.    The Kirk holds 600, and that was full with 20 minutes to go, and there was an overspill outside.    3 coffins in the kirk.

The whole community turned out, and we had visitors from way beyond our village.    The Minister was a complete star, and led the service magnificently – very difficult for him as he was a personal friend.   He even made us smile.    

Our cemetary is on the main A road out of the village, and we followed the three hearses out.   The police had closed the road completely, which made a huge difference.     At the cemetary, in complete silence we watched the undertakers carefully remove one coffin from the first hearse, set the straps underneath, and gently lower.    It took a while.    This was repeated twice more.     Then the committal, Lord’s prayer and it was all over.

As we made our way back to the village in the bright sparkling sunshine, we realised that  it is not all over – not by a long way.    We have merely just started a healing process.

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