Arts and Culture

Once & Future: The Myth & Music of Albion

Posted on: Sat 2 Mar 2019

The Arthurian legends have long been a subject of fascination to the world, and to historians of Albion (England) in particular, often conjuring a romantic view of chivalrous knights and fair ladies.

Jamie Moffatt, of Adelaide performing arts company, Elephant in the Room Productions, has taken his inspiration from the many tales of Arthur and Avalon and directs a talented group of eight singers in an enjoyable 90 minute mixture of song and narrative.

As the performers filed into the imposing space of St. Peter’s Cathedral, suitably attired in mediaeval inspired costumes, we looked at the program and realised that this was going to be a pretty eclectic performance. With songs from Brian May and Queen, Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull and Lennon and McCartney, alongside those of Sydney Carter, William Blake and William Byrd, interspersed with linked narrative, it was indeed an enthralling offering.

The performers were all very well credentialed and in splendid voice, but the vastness of the building did tend to diminish the sound and produce a slight echo, both in the singing and the narrative. Some of the softer voices also tended to tail off in the narrative section, which the performers spoke in turn – a pity, as it was well constructed and fitted well with the music.

A highlight for me was the singing of Only in Sleep, a song by Latvian composer Eriks Esenvalds, exquisitely performed by soprano Victoria Coxhill from the Cathedral nave, while the rest of the cast faced the audience from the crossing. This worked very well and seemed to improve the sound volume.

The next performances are in the smaller St Paul’s Church at Port Adelaide, so this should suit these lovely voices much better than the beautiful, but cavernous, cathedral and I imagine this venue will allow the cast to really explore the potential of this appealing production.

Once and Future: The Myth and Music of Albion is on at the Fringe until March 3rd. Check your Fringe guide for details.

Julie Cavanagh

Other stories