The Polyphonic Bard

The Pocket Score Company and the Canberra Academy of Dramatic Art. Directed by Tamzin Nugent. The Street Theatre. 30 Nov 2012

What better way to finish the Street Theatre’s Made in Canberra production season, than with a tribute to the father of modern theatre himself?

A veritable Shakespearean smorgasbord for devotees, The Polyphonic Bard is a mish-mash of snippets from his infamous sonnets and scenes from his plays, intertwined with chamber music from across the ages, that weaves the production together.

Combining the talents of the Canberra Academy of Dramatic Art’s (CADA) up and coming (Tristan Sean Flynn, James Hughes, Brendan Kelly, James Luke, Ryan Pemberton and Crystal Rose), as well as The Pocket Score Company’s all-male vocal ensemble (David Yardley, Paul Eldon, John Virgoe, Daniel Sanderson and Ian Blake), the two merge harmoniously to create a sensory-rich exploration of Shakespeare’s body of work.

Putting a unique stamp on their individual pieces, each CADA student grasps the content wholeheartedly, and adds just the right amount of torment and mischief to the mix through the journey of Shakespeare’s many moods. Crystal Rose in Act II, Scene I of The Taming of the Shrew was especially noteworthy, delighting the audience with her charming precociousness.

The Pocket Score Company gained much interest of their own that evening, with people visibly enchanted by their diverse and elegantly executed range of material sung in English, French and Latin, that dated back as far as 500+ years. The jovial ‘Je Ne Menge Point de Porc’ by Claudin de Sermisy was a particular crowd pleaser, proving that chamber music need not be entirely serious.

The set and lighting design by Gillian Schwab was cosy and intimate, with a distinctly rustic feel that provided a sense of authenticity to the production. Likewise, Aaron King’s audio-visual design creates a soothing environment while providing some interesting historical references to take in.

The Polyphonic Bard would be classified as high art and will therefore hold limited appeal to a mass audience. However, being sold-out on opening night it is sure to attract the attention of its niche audience – the capital being as cultured as it is. It really hit a note with the Canberrans present if the rapturous applause and demand for an encore bow was any indication.

Overall, this show is a respectful celebration of the creative works of yesteryear that have continued to inspire artists of all kinds as they find new relevance and meaning in them today. The love and enthusiasm that went into The Polyphonic Bard was highly evident, and this was not lost on anyone.

Deborah Hawke

When: Closed
Where: The Street Theatre
Bookings: Closed