By Jonathan Guy Lewis and Jasper Rees, adapted from the book by Jasper Rees
Directed by Harry Burton
Company: Sweet Spot Theatre
Venue: Minerva Theatre
Date: Saturday 31st October 2009
This was much better than either of us expected or hoped. I’m familiar with the Flanders and Swann track, but this play was a different beast altogether. Based on Jasper Rees’s experiences of re-learning the French horn and taking us up to his solo performance before an assembled throng of French horn players after just a year of practice, this piece took us through a roller-coaster of emotions. There were glimpses of his time in the school orchestra, a trip to ‘horn camp’ in the States where he was confronted by some superb players, the run up to the final performance and of course the performance itself. Despite being a bit ropy at the start, once he let go of his fears and realised it couldn’t get any worse he started to relax and enjoy himself. His playing improved considerably.
Although based on Jasper’s book about his experiences, the part of Jasper was in fact performed by Jonathan Guy Lewis whom Jasper describes in the program notes as “rather better than me”. He certainly covered a range of parts, from the school orchestra’s conductor through to a semi-crippled but still brilliant German horn player who was the teacher at the camp. Jasper’s teenage sons featured occasionally as well, and all this with only a couple of costume changes. It was a superb performance and much appreciated by everyone.
The other great thing about a play like this is that the music tends to be bloody brilliant as well. And so it was. It left me wanting to log on to Amazon and buy some CDs immediately, so I’m glad the excerpts were identified in the program. Makes searching easier. We would happily see this again.
© 2009 Sheila Evans at ilovetheatre.me