Blow The Wind Southerly
CHRISTOPHER SMITH Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich
> Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich
Kathleen Ferier created a chapter in English musical history.
Her life is almost a rags to riches story, starting slowly in the north of England and suddenly flowering into international success.
After an interrupted education and a first husband who cut a sorry figure, she found her voice and her feet in the post-war years, moving on from the tradition of oratorios to bring something distinctive to opera, and to become a major interpreter of Gustav Mahler.
Then cancer scythed her down.
- 1 Meet the three Norfolk businesses featured in Antiques Road Trip
- 2 Family's heartache as dog dies after being hit by Amazon van
- 3 'It is really sad': End of an era as popular pub landlords call time
- 4 The homeless newlyweds who have lived in their car for a year
- 5 Former Norwich restaurant to be transformed into £1.5m food hall
- 6 A146 closed after three vehicles and motorcycle involved in crash
- 7 Family pub and restaurant opens outdoor pool to cold water swimmers
- 8 People come 'from all over the country' to try this Norfolk seafood platter
- 9 10-year-old town centre deli announces sudden closure
- 10 Man set to stand trial accused of teen daughter's murder
This is the career that Judi Daykin presents in her neatly composed one-woman show.
She brings out both the events of the singer's remarkable life and also a lot of her character. Northern grit is there by the bucketful.
Kathleen Ferier certainly had gifts, but she developed them with a determination that is more commonly encountered in a rugger scrum or in a boxing ring.
Generous in her gratitude to those who helped her, she retained steadfast self-belief and a well-founded sense of her own worth.
There was humour, too, and the no-nonsense awareness of the world as it really is that you often find in lasses from Yorkshire.
All that is brought out by Judi Daykin who knows better than to overstate her case.
As if mastering all those words for a two-act show were not enough, she also sings, with Roger Bowen as her accompanist. No fewer than 10 songs record the legendary singer's wide repertory with more immediacy than would have been possible with recordings.
Perhaps predictably, the tuneful Northumbrian folk songs make the most impact.