Wednesday, 28 June 2017

“Silver Darling” by Open Road Productions
Guildhall Theatre, Derby.
Following on from the wonderful “The Same Sky” from earlier this year, Open Road Productions present their latest offering, a fishy tale of misunderstood characters, good and bad deeds, as the strap line goes.
For those who don’t know what a Silver Darling is, and I must admit I didn’t, it’s a name given to a herring which is part of the fishing history of Great Yarmouth where millions of them were hauled ashore by a fleet of “drifter” boats that filled the harbour. By the early 20th century the fishing grounds off Great Yarmouth were the most productive in the world and the port was the most important in the country.
Set in Yorkshire just before the onset of World War 2 and everyone is struggling after the huge depression to keep their businesses afloat.
After a few successful drifts though, money isn't too scarce, but if that's the case why does Willie's wife Dolly discover that the grocery bills aren't paid in full. What secrets are being hidden? Who is the mystery benefactor who arranges food parcels for the Herring Girls? Did Murdo really imagine his shredded nets ?
Willie and his sons, Davy and Kenny, are under pressure from Spivey to fill his quota of fish. It's that pressure that pushed one character just too far with tragic consequences, and that's when the cat is let out of the bag!
Written by Tim Harvey, this is another spell-binding story which will pick you up and sweep you along with this village's story
The songs are all written by Phil Baggaley and played live by the 12 piece band. Once more a gorgeous, gentle folk-tinged soundtrack of fishermen tales and young love.
As with “The Same Sky” this is also directed by Daniel Ellis.
Designed by Maria Terry, the set is simple but effective. easily adapted to cover the various scenes, from being on board the boat to the village shop to the village pub.
The lighting was designed by Sandy Mcallister and Sound Designer is Ash Nicols. Emotive and at the same time quite soothing lighting and the sound was spot on.
Proving that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” you may recognise some of the same cast,
Anna-Kate Golding (Kath), is young Davy's lover. Between them they show the excitement of stolen moments together. A genuinely believable relationship played out on stage.
Emily Vinnicombe,(Eliza), one of the Herring Girls. So pleased that she is back in the cast as she has a gorgeous voice which suits the folky sound just perfectly. Sung with real emotion. She also brings the fun element with her role.
Harry Gibson,(Davy). Harry is the youngest of Willie's sons and also plays the story teller throughout. Great accent, lovely characterisation and nor a bad singing voice either. definitely a well rounded actor.
Andrew Buxton (Kenny), also back in the cast from "The Same Sky" and another solid performer matching Harry,
Mark Tunstall (Murdo), Willie's best mate, and almost unrecognisable under all of that facial hair. Again,another lovely character role.
Esme Sears (Violet). Lovely to look at and a lovely voice as well. Violet is the village shop owner who is involved with the secrecy, but I couldn't spoil the secret, now could I?
Mica Loveridge, (Nessie) is the new Herring Girl on the block. A lovely fun character and as part of the trio with Anna-Kate and Emily they produce such a gorgeous sound with these beautiful songs. They bring the pictures in the songs to life.
Paul Goldsmith (Willie) is the strict but pressured father. He lays down the law and is a wonderful providing husband but there's more to this character than first seen. A nice salty sea dog performance from Paul.
Bethan Waite (Dolly), the wife. Bethan puts in a wonderfully emotion soaked scene in Act Two when addressing her husband which sent a shiver up my spine.
And last but not least, Tim Booth (Spivy). Spivy is the catalyst for this musical but by his actions, the rest of the story unfolds and reveals that he also may not be quite the man he first seems.
This musical is as emotional as "The Same Sky". It has an equally talented cast and an equally wonderful story. if you loved "The Same Sky", you will love this just as much, I know that I did, and I couldn't wait to show my appreciation of such an all round wonderful production by getting to my feet at the end.
“Silver Darling” is at The Guildhall Theatre in Derby until Saturday 1 July 2017. Tickets are £15.00.

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