The Walsingham Organ, on tour

FRANCES HART A 140-year-old mystery involving an exploding organ, a death threat to the parson and a smouldering fuse in the community forms the basis for Eastern Angles' new play.

FRANCES HART

A 140-year-old mystery involving an exploding organ, a death threat to the parson and a smouldering fuse in the community forms the basis for Eastern Angles' new play The Walsingham Organ.

Don't miss this entertaining evening if you can possibly catch it on tour in villages and towns in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex during March, April and May, with the promise of summer performances at Maldon, Walsingham and West Suffolk.

Surpassing even the highest standard set by previous shows from this lively and innovative theatre company, the staging, set, music, production and cast exceeded my expectations. The group has established a tradition of using local events as the basis for specially commissioned plays and The Walsingham Organ is no exception.

Contemporary with Thomas Hardy's novel Under the Greenwood Tree (set in Dorset), the events dramatised involve the mid-Victorian installation of new pipe organs in parish churches, replacing the traditional village bands who played the hymns in services for generations.

In Hardy's story the churchwarden, deafened by fortissimo carols on his doorstep, proposes the introduction of an organ and is suspected of a personal feud with the band. In the play the parson is the one with dubious motives.

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It would spoil your enjoyment of the play to reveal how events unfold, however the team consisting of writer Alastair Cording, director Ivan Cutting, composer Pat Whymark, designer Alex Eales, with Brian Orrell as the parson, Richard Foster as the mill owner, Sally Ann Burnett as the parson's ward, James Peck as Henry and James, apparently supported by a variety of minor characters, provide an experience which is sometimes bleak, sometimes richly comic but never boring.

t The Walsingham Organ was reviewed at Harleston.

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