Thursday, December 22, 2011

coram boy

Moira+I continued our “live theatre fest” this afternoon by going to see the Bristol Old Vic’s “Coram Boy” at Colston Hall. It was a pretty ambitious venture – featuring a large cast (with lots of children) plus a full choir and large orchestra pumping out Handel’s “Messiah” (and Colston Hall is a massive venue)! Actually, this formula is a brilliant way of ensuring virtually full houses throughout the Christmas period – with relatives and friends of all the cast members apparently filling a lot of the seats! Moira had read the book, but I wasn’t familiar with the story. The background relates to Thomas Coram’s 18th century Foundling Hospital in London called the "Coram Hospital for Deserted Children"; unscrupulous men, known as "Coram men", frequently took advantage of the situation by promising desperate mothers to take their unwanted children to the hospital for a fee…
The audience duly acclaimed the performance (I did say that it largely comprised the cast’s aunties, uncles and school friends!). Actually, I was disappointed:
• I thought the acting was pretty basic in quality overall (from the professionals – I’ll excuse the younger members)
• The music was very good – but, to my mind, often got in the way of the dialogue (in fact, frequently playing OVER the dialogue) or simply over-dramatising events.
• To my mind, the design/concept seemed rather dated and also fairly basic in quality or originality (eg. plastic sheeting flapped to denote the wild sea) – although the lighting was pretty good.
But, hey, it’s Christmas so everything is forgiven (well, most things) and it was fantastic experience for all the young actors/singers!
PS: amazingly (and sadly), there was no “loop” system for those with hearing difficulties (I know this because Moira told me and the chap in front was VERY annoyed too!)… this seems ridiculous, especially when you’ve got a number of young actors with “thin” voices and the size of the auditorium).

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