Gossamer Thread’s Vaudeville Co. presents “Kubla Khan” at Norwich Arts Centre 12 June 2015. Milly Hirst, Chad Mason, Lucy Gooch, BFR at The Plasterers, 9 June. GlassHouse Fundraiser at Norwich Arts Centre, with The Vagaband, The Other Half Productions 10 June 2015.
Gossamer Thread made a welcome return to Norwich Arts Centre on what must have been the warmest evening of the year so far with, in my humble opinion, their best show to date.
Various members of the Hocus Pocus Theatre were on walkabout beforehand, surprising, intriguing and puzzling the gathering crowd in the bar and the garden whilst DJ Jazzlord was providing the music in the bar.
The main event was opened by the tireless and excellent Paul Preston Mills, compering this evening and he introduced the first act, the incredible sword swallower Bendini.
Also featured in the first act were Natalya Umanska, Missy Fatale, Daisy Black on aerial hoop, and mind reader Alex McAleer with a brand new and incredible routine … “Blind Reading”.
After a short interval Paul was back onstage to introduce the second act, with Natalya Umanska as always amazing, this time on the bed of nails, Kimberley Moore performed a charmingly beautiful “Little Bird” piece on piano and was followed by Alex, and then Daisy Black on aerial silks. This was possibly my highlight of the evening. Her new routine entitled “Moth” was just beautiful and the best performance I think I have seen from her. With a moth projected onto the back of the stage the lighting was perfect to produce beautiful shadows whilst she performed – and indeed transformed – quite breathtakingly to Massive Attack’s You are My Angel.
Missy Fatale closed the show in dramatic fashion with her “Kabarett Verboten” … it featured lots of fire, water, and gasps from the enthralled audience.
A brilliant production with a very high standard maintained throughout – the ovation as all the performers took their curtain call was noisy and prolonged.
Earlier in the week I had the great pleasure of catching up with and hearing Milly Hirst play, as well as Chad Mason and Lucy Gooch at the Plasterers BFR night. Milly is deservedly performing at Glastonbury this year, on the BBC Introducing stage. She seems excited and scared in endearingly equal measures but still had the confidence to air a couple of brand new songs here and both sounded full of promise with her trademark songwriting and delivery, with the recurring theme of water also present in a tale inspired by Whittlingham.
Chad was as entertaining as ever, his chats between songs almost as much entertainment as his excellent songs themselves. Opening the night was the very likeable Lucy Gooch who played a beautiful and atmospheric instrumental set on her guitar creating a perfect mood which commanded much respect. And she did not apologise once this time, good for her!
The following night I caught the Vagaband and The Other Half at Norwich Arts Centre for the GlassHouse fundraiser. This was a lovely and relaxed, fun night. The bar was packed for some very funny cabaret from The Other Half and the auditorium, after some dance classes, hosted a good natured and lively set from The Vagaband.
words and photos (c) richard shashamane 2015