Saturday, 5 May 2012

David Copperfield and some other musings.

Dianne and I have just returned from Frodsham Player's performance of David Copperfield at the Community Centre.  It was a very ambitious production - performed 'in the round' style in the main hall with the audience seated either side of the performance area.  The cast relished the space and pulled off the difficult task of performing to an audience sitting either side of them.

The cast was brilliant with many star performers.  Iain Bennett played the adult David Copperfield and Alex Taylor the young David.  Both were stunning.  David Leslie as Mr Micawber (and a couple of other cameos) showed his great versatility.  He regularly had the audience giggling.  In his role as the head teacher Mr Creakle he broke his cane with  perhaps overly vigorous thrashing.  Who knows it may have been planned. Either way  I was much amused when he returned to the stage a little later with a shorter stick!

Dickens's portrayal of women is rarely sympathetic and many of the female characters are subordinate and not fully formed characters. Notwithstanding this the leading ladies were great.  I really enjoyed Carrie Brown's performances first as David Copperfield's put upon mother and then as 'child wife' Dora.

The players are fortunate to have several youngsters eager to perform.  It bodes very well for the future!  

I have to say, somewhat shamefacedly, that I don't really do Dickens.  I endured Great Expectations at school and developed an invincible dislike for his novels.  It was quite ironic some many years later when I was going through some advocacy training that my technique and English usage was  described as 'Dickensian'!    Perhaps too close to home?  However this merely increases my admiration for the cast and their great performances.  They kept the audience's attention throughout the two and a half hours - even the youngsters in the audience.

Now I'm nearing the end of my Mayoral year and this is my last planned cultural event.  We are so fortunate in Frodsham to have so many wonderful groups and societies with really talented performers and ever willing supporters.   It was nice to see so many past Mayors in the audience tonight.  I counted at least three and there may have been more. I'd love to see all of our past Mayors perform an ambassadorial role for Frodsham.   We can all 'fly the flag' for Frodsham.  I was also pleased to see and speak to Clare Hayes again tonight.   I attended a talk she gave at Newton Hall Residential Home last night about the former National Children's Home that is now Kingsley Green - which was called, as many of you know, Newton Hall.   She gave a very moving and wonderful talk.  Given the work I do with vulnerable children on the Fostering Panel it was great to hear of someone growing up in a children's home who speaks of it with great love and affection.  

I didn't lose the ironic juxtaposition in the space of 24 hours of Dickens's portrayal of Victorian England with all its casual brutality and Clare's talk of the care and love she felt at Newton Hall just after World War II.  Clare told the tale that the caring regime at Newton Hall only moved on from Victorian style conditions in the late 1920s.

So thanks Clare for last night and thanks again to the Frodsham Players for tonight.  Great stuff.