THE TRUE AND TERRIBLE HISTORY OF JOHN ‘BABBACOMBE’ LEE by Kevin Burke

I can’t remember where I first heard of this staging of Fairport Convention’s celebrated folk-rock opera but it proved irresistible enough for me to obtain a copy of this trimmed down ‘sampler’ DVD from a 2 hour show to 30 minutes. For those of us that were lucky (and old) enough to have witnessed the National Theatre’s excellent Lark Rise To Candleford in the late 1970’s will much appreciate that folk tales such as ‘Babbacombe’ Lee should adapt well to the stage and by utilising the strengths of predominantly Dave Swarbrick’s original songs and tunes employing a diverse array of talent from the ‘house band’ Little Johnny England and the ‘cast’ writer/director Kevin Burke should be proud of his efforts in conveying this tragic tale. With inventive use of aerial acrobatics (think Cirque Du Soleil) particularly on the effective “Dream Song” sequence, dance, magic lantern style puppetry and screen projected images the production would appear to move at a reasonably brisk pace. With only (to my knowledge) one production of the show it would be a great injustice to the ‘folk scene’ to be deprived of more outings and if there are any festival organisers reading this review could I suggest that you check out the video below:

Further information can be found at Kevin’s website here www.kevinburke.co.uk

PETE FYFE


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