Love, Lust and We All Make Mistakes

Devised by Sylvia Syms
Customs House, South Shields
(2003)

After ten days which included Keepers of the Flame, Macbeth, Hamlet and Oedipus, it was a total joy this Sunday evening to sit and watch three consummate professionals perform a series of light-hearted poems and music built around love, lust and making mistakes in both.

Sylvia Syms was to have been joined by Jenny Seagrove for this performance at South Shields' Customs House but problems with the play she's in which is about to start previewing tomorrow meant today was the dress rehearsal and so she had to pull out. Sights of disappointment from the audience. Instead - at three days notice - we had Jaye Griffiths, and any lingering doubts that might have entered the minds of any of the audience were completely erased after her first piece, one of Juliet's speeches, in which she was the perfect fourteen year old.

The two ladies were joined onstage by acoustic guitarist Simon James for a delightful evening of poems and other work from writers as diverse as Shakespeare, Philip Larkin, W B Yeats, Carol Ann Duffy, Queen Victoria, Walter Raleigh, P G Wodehouse, Tom Lehrer and Stevie Smith, among many others, some well-known, others hardly known at all. All of which was accompanied by beautifully played music by John Dowland, Django Rheinhardt and Noel Coward, among others.

An easy relationship with the audience and with each other, the perfomers' versatility and the wide array of always apposite writing, all combined to make a very pleasant evening which had one lady in the audience, who admitted to never having read a poem since leaving school, to marvel at the wonder of words. Who can argue with that?

Reviewer: Peter Lathan