Sublime journey through the snow

Mediaeval Baebes

Lichfield Garrick

**** 

THE Mediaeval Baebes were a huge success judging by the reaction of the Lichfield audience during this performance, the penultimate date on their Christmas 2010 tour. The show is sublime and ethereal, taking you to another time and place through song, poetry and dance.  

The musical ensemble have been pleasing audiences since 1996 with songs based on Mediaeval poetry put to a modern interpretation of Mediaeval music. 

The line-up has seen many changes since it's inception.  Founding member Katharine Blake, who is also musical director, and lead composer and arranger for the group has surrounded herself with songstresses with timeless beauty and exquisite voices.  

Sarah Kayte Foster, Esther Dee, Emily Ovenden and Bev Lee Harling are also competent instrumentalists and dancers.  Sadly, the sixth member of the group, Melpomeni, was missing having fallen foul of the plague.   

The show opened with subdued lighting, a black back drop with tiny lights shining as stars and the stage floor and equipment bedecked in florae. With a tribal beat of the drum, a bell tolled 13 (half expected ACDC or Metallica to make an entrance) and one by one the Baebes proceeded on to the stage, clad in floaty, winter-white, medieval-style gowns, wearing floral headdresses and carrying lighted candles.  The scene was set and the show unfurled. 

BRILLIANT BAND

Halfway through the first half, as the Baebes exited for costume changes, we were treated to short session by the brilliant band, Frank Moon playing oud, cittern and percussion,  Kavus Torabi, the Baebes very own Persian Prince, playing guitar and cuattro and, on drums and percussion, Ben Wollacott.  The Babes returned to stage dressed in spring greens and the pace of the show picked up a tad.  

The second half of the show was much livelier.  There was another costume change, this time to purple, lots of great choreography and armography and tunes included Dringo Bell, the climatic Maypole Dance, Sunrise (plenty of audience participation) and some very dark numbers. The whole show rose to a dramatic flamenco-influenced finale with The Blacksmiths.  The extremely appreciative audience were given an encore. 

The show included some new songs and as well as revisiting old favourites. A programme for the evening would have been very useful.  Perhaps, there was an assumption that the audience would be familiar enough with the Baebes' material that they would be able to identify all the songs. The available programme at £10 was a little steep and actually covered their new double album, Temptation, http://www.mediaevalbaebes.com/index.html and not the show.

Lynda Ford 

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