I'm not one of life's weepers and wailers...in fact you will hardly see me cry. It's not that I'm cold hearted or unemotional...far from it. I just hate crying in public, preferring to hide behind closed doors and sob.
Crying in public makes me feel very vulnerable, and I'm not one of those women who can cry prettily. You know the type I mean....the ones whose eyes well up luminously and dab at their eyes gently with a freshly laundered handkerchief .
Because I cry so rarely, when I do....the floodgates open. I can't just shed a tear...oh no, they come streaming down my face ...my eyes become blood red like a daughter of Dracula, my nose runs...and I end up snotty nosed , blotchy skinned and looking a complete fright.
That's why I avoid sad stories at the cinema or the theatre.
I thought I would be safe on Tuesday night at the current production of the Hired man at Curve in Leicester. I knew the storyline well, the musical based on Melvyn Bragg's novel set in the tumultous years of the early twentieth century. I knew that certain characters die against the backdrop of the First World War....I knew that the story line was inspired by Melvyn's grandfather. I'd interviewed Melvyn Bragg the week before, and had a lovely long chat with him about his novel and the musical.
Originally he said "No"when first approached by Howard Goodall the composer who wanted to transform the novel into a musical. Thank goodness Melvyn changed his mind.
I didn't think I would cry....but I was swept away by this production, by Howard Goodall's heartbreaking lyrics and stirring music. so beautifully performed by the whole cast. I was lost in the worlds of Cumbrian hiring fairs, love and loss in a mining town and the horrors of the First World War.
Julie Atherton was superb as Emily Tallentire , the wife of hired man John. Young and flirty at the beginning...she caught every nuance of passion and conflict , and yet she aged convincingly on stage . David Hunter as her husband John was so credible.. and Kit Orton as Jackon Pennington sizzled in the love scenes with Julie Atherton, as well playing the violin. Just not at the same time you understand....
Julie Atherton and Kit Orton
I loved the way the cast all multi tasked ....with brio, with zest, with pathos ,playing a variety of roles and instruments. They were wonderful...even if at one point I wondered whether Mumford and Sons would joining the ensemble .
Because I was so engaged with the whole cast, the storyline and the sheer emotion emanating from the stage ,I started to cry. A few tears at first...luckily I had a few tissues in my bag. I should have taken more though...by the time the cast were taking their curtain call and the lights went up, I was
...yes you've guessed it, snotty nosed ,blotchy skinned with red rimmed eyes.
But I wouldn't have missed this production for the world, and as I drove home through the night singing the Song of the Hired Man loudly to myself in the car....I thought what a life affirming night it had been.
The Hired Man is showing at Curve in Leicester until April 27th.
Here's the trailer for the joint production with Colchester........
But for today's music track...it had to be this ...