With a diverse plethora of wind instruments, and a collection of mellifluous readings, musical virtuoso John Sampson, and Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, take you on a beautiful journey of counties, bees, and the reincarnation of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
The amiable bearded Sampson provides the sound, and the vivacious Duffy the poetry, but what makes this performance so watchable, is how the two qualities compliment each other, then swap hands – the music becoming poetic, the readings forming a mild muttering, swaying the audience back and forth like a metronome while the crescendo builds.
The readings were a mixture of pathos and humour, murkiness and satire. Each individual piece standing on its own, deserving of applause – brilliantly supplemented by the tooting of a trumpet, the sinuous noise of the crumhorn, or the colourful melody of the Chinese wind instrument.
The stage interaction is also a delight, frequently using a particular line or phrase to mock one another, making the spectator feel comfortable, welcome and involved – charmingly inviting them into the honey, the Shakespeare, and the immorality of the invigilator.
A natural performer, Carol Ann Duffy perfectly juxtaposes tension with merriment, anxiety with joy, tearfulness with laughter – her writing is evocative, pure and relaxing, blended together by John Sampson’s harmonious, melodic, and sweet-sounding music, it’s no coincidence there wasn’t an empty seat in the house.