Thursday night; Neighbourhood Watch by Alan Ayckbourn. I need to see it a few more times to unpack everything he crammed in. Acerbic wit about our fears of difference, change and security. Stunning ensenble work. No 'star names' but tight co-operation produced first class performances from all the actors. Not a wasted word.
Friday - a trip to York with my long rusty Latin pressed into use to decipher some writing on stone coffins. Ate at Plunkets surrounded by pictures of \Hollywood legends.
Friday to Sunday evening.
Mike Gordon of Scarborough Jazz provided enough variety to satisfy everyone except those wedded to only one style of jazz. Starred perfomances for me were:
- Trio Hadouk, a French trio with a range of instruments, two musicians who looked straight off the 1960s hippy trail and a mesmerising drummer. Literally mesmerising because from our seats in the third row from the front, at one point his hands seemed to dissolve into vapour trails as he played the tabla.
- Mina Agossi, again French with origins in Benin. Beguiling, bewitching with a voice that soared and swooped across a wide octave range. What fascinated as well was the level of involvement with her musicians, some of whom looked as bemused as us by the end.
- David Rees Williams Trio. Deputising last minute for the Jacques Loussier Trio because of his illness, they did the same style of jazz but across a wider range of composers and with more of a hard edge sometimes, courtesy of an organ. They played last on Saturday evening and the encore included a clarinet solo from Alan Barnes on the theme of Purcell's When I am laid... Stunning, haunting and a wonderful end to the evening.
Work like this always divides the audience but to me it's a strength of the festival. In nine years I think I've only walked out of seven sets, one of which was this year. Testament to finding interesting music. And it's important for me to remember that all the music I like now, was new to me at one time and I had to expend energy and time in getting to know it.
Having the sets at an hour and fifteen minutes length is perfect. You can endure most things for that time.
Next year is the tenth event and Mike's obviously going to make it the best ever. I hope so.