Review: Crude Apache’s production Peter Bellamy’s The Transports at the Whiffler Theatre in Norwich

Gillian Dean, standing plays imprisoned young lover Susannah Holmes in Crude Apache's free, open-ai

Gillian Dean, standing plays imprisoned young lover Susannah Holmes in Crude Apache's free, open-air show, The Transports. Picture: Submitted - Credit: Archant

After the massive success of their production in Dragon Hall in 2013, Crude Apache Theatre stage an outdoor touring production of Peter Bellamy's legendary folk-opera.

Crude Apache’s production Peter Bellamy’s The Transports at the Whiffler Theatre in Norwich. Picture

Crude Apaches production Peter Bellamys The Transports at the Whiffler Theatre in Norwich. Picture: Rosemary Dixon - Credit: Archant

Fine weather blessed local theatre company Crude Apache's outdoor production at the Whiffler Theatre of Norfolk folk colossus Peter Bellamy's tuneful ballad opera The Transports.

Their production was enhanced by its setting in the shadow of Norwich Castle, where the early events of this true story unfolded.

The poignant and ultimately redemptive tale of convicts Henry and Susannah Kable/Cabbell who were transported with their infant son to Botany Bay is told in a series of fine set piece solos, duets and ensemble pieces firmly rooted in the folk idiom.

There were some good singers present, although some struggled with projection and seemed occasionally at odds with the 10-piece band of musicians.


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To convey the twists and turns of the plot and keep the momentum going, the production would have benefitted from a narrator, which has been a feature of other stagings over the past 30 years.

Nevertheless, Bellamy's music has stood the test of time and this is a welcome revival of his greatest work in its 40th anniversary year.

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• The production continues at Whitlingham Broad, August 10, 7.30pm/Wymondham Becketswell, August 11, 7.30pm/Geldeston Locks Inn, August 12, 7.30pm/Kett's Heights, Norwich, August 13 (2.30pm), details crudeapache.wordpress.com

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