The Mediaeval Baebes

MICHAEL DRAKE Norwich Playhouse

MICHAEL DRAKE

> Norwich Playhouse

They certainly dressed the part – not least with some exotic head dresses – but this glamorous vocal octet were no “PC babes” in presenting their special way with music from the middle ages.

With sound rhythm and accompaniment from a bass drummer and guitarist plus their own recorders, they moved easily from Middle English to French, Spanish and started with the Latin Salva Nos. No problem here and they should have stored up some heavenly good will though they were certainly not adverse to the odd suggestive wisecrack.

In to the fairy land of Orfeo (which they describe as the medieval equivalent of Basingstoke) their much- amplified, though effective, interpretations took in interesting and echo-enhanced harmonies in There is No Rose. Much of their programme was musically repetitive yet it was this feature which almost hypnotically held the enthusiastic audience and the fan club loved it.

Other pieces were known to contemporary audiences included Rosemary and Thyme, representing men and women, Gaudete, Adam Lay y Bounden and a song of Eve (of apple fame) who is obviously responsible for all the ills of the modern world.

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A moving solo of the earliest lullaby preceded the final set when, now in startling red dresses, the babes continued to delight with their unique insight from another world.

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