Song and Dance Man
Mike Maran Productions at Norwich Playhouse
Genius appeals to the child in all of us and storyteller Mike Maran was playful in his magical re-creation of the life and passions of Gustav Mahler.
The first half of the tale was fired by love. The deft musical ensemble wove in and out of the words, wrapping around the story to bring us the full bent of the great man's ardour. I was reminded of the famous picture by Chagall, a fellow Jew, where the man is so in love that his head turns upside down and his feet float off the ground.
The second half took a sombre key. Dispensing with the straight jacket of the purely chronological, it let the music take the lead. We, too, felt the composers suffering at the loss of his six little brothers; the disintegration of his marriage; his final illness and his death.
Norfolk's own Kate Wimhurst bought us an arrangement of Mahler's work scaled down to just six skilled pairs of hands, which acted as a perfect foil to Maran's performance, highlighting the storytelling and folk element which made even the most noisy works somehow intimate. What a past. And all too quickly over.