Limahl, a man of constant sorrow?

“I am a man of constant Sorrow” or so sing the Soggy Bottom Brothers in “Oh Brother where art thou?” It’s a great song from a lovely film which itself is a reworking of Homers epic poem “The Odyssey”.

If you climb out onto your rooftop at night you might make out; above the sound of the helicopter and the drunks – Simon and I hollering “…constant sorrow” from our respective writing cells atop darkstuff towers.

As you know by now the final show of The Bierkeller Theatres Christmas season is our adaptation of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”. We’ve been having a lot of fun with adaptations of late and this story in particular has got the old typewriters clacking away as we develop our take on this classic American tale.

We have considerable musical talent on board for the show in the form of  Matt Grinter and Dan Greensmith (Director and Musical Director respectively) so its no secret that there is going to be a fair bit of singing and musicality on display. It’s a Christmas show after all.

Unfortunately for you guys and despite our best intentions our wishes to have a little cameo in the production has proved a fruitless endeavour; basically you’re not going to be able to hear Si and I sing in the show as we’ve been told by the production team our voices are just too good, Matt and Dan were concerned that we might overwhelm the audience with our emotion and vocal range.

For us there is always X Factor/The Voice or whatever,  which we are considering entering as “Limahl Squared” – the basic conceit being simon and I both dress up as Limahl … we’ll leave that treat for another time…

…So…despite a disturbing childhood fixation on the musical “Grease” I have never really engaged at all with the conventions of musicals. I can appreciate why people love them but I don’t.

However give me Jeff Wayne’s musical extravaganza that is “The War of the Worlds” featuring the smoky/whisky voice of Richard Burton (though no singing from him) and Phil Lynott camping it up as a vicar and even David Essex tunnelling the underground with a spoon can’t prevent the production being a stand out piece of  epic story telling with music. It gave me the chills as a kid listening to it on my brothers’ hi-fi system; I guess Wayne’s work counts as a musical to be fair but I don’t mind contradictions as long as they have “Oohlahs!”

It’s no real contradiction to understand the worth of musicality within performance, without it all going – “Summer Lovin”. It’s the human voice giving some “oomph” that often sends the hairs up on the neck. That first verse of “I am a man of constant sorrow” does just that for me amongst many others as I’m sure you have many great stand out tunes dear reader.

Music is easily the closest thing to magic we have in this weary world with its particular, unique ability to express complex emotional landscapes intuitively. You could write a million words for a thousand years (if only we could get the monkeys to type) and still not come close to what can be given over in a phrase of music.

As we move through the themes and plotting of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow we’re excited about the infusion of music and song that we’re bringing to this particular performance party. With a nod and a wink to Bluegrass and Americana and with a touch of the Goth sprinkled in for good measure we are creating musical theatre for Christmas and we’re not (too shy) shy about saying so.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow runs from the 3rd-6th December and 9th-13th December you can book tickets online here

www.bierkellertheatre.com

 

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