All-female production thoroughly enjoyable

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REVIEW

MURDER IN THE CATHEDRAL

(TS ELIOT)

Presented by Dunedin Medieval Society,

Suitcase Theatre, and St Paul’s Cathedral

Sunday, December 1

Review by BRENDA HARWOOD

Superb performances, authentic music and costumes, and a chance to explore lesser-known areas of St Paul’s Cathedral made Murder in the Cathedral a thoroughly enjoyable theatre experience.

Presented by the Dunedin Medieval Society, in conjunction with Suitcase Theatre and St Paul’s Cathedral, the poetic play was directed by Jonathan Cweorth and featured a strong all-female cast.

Leading the cast as Archbishop Thomas Becket, Helen Fearnley was a sternly dignified presence, ably supported by anxious priests Rachel Covey, Laura Wells and Sofie Welvaert.

Prophesying doom for the Archbishop and the church, and cleverly ratcheting up the tension was the nun’s chorus, featuring Alison Cowan, Rosie Collier and Terry MacTavish.

In the twin roles of tempters and murderous knights Clare Adams, Marama Grant, Janice Snowden and Lani Swann were vigorous and engaging.

Fantastic medieval costumes, created by a team led by Charmian Smith and Tamsin Braisher, with tempter masks by Cweorth and shoes by Helen Davies, combined with the surroundings of the church to transport the audience back in time.

The Rare Byrds Recorded Ensemble and Chorus performed wonderfully and added to the atmosphere.

It was a great pleasure to be among a capacity audience to experience T.S. Eliot’s poetic language and vision being brought to life by this talented and dedicated team.