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  Top » Catalog » Pages » Reviews
Four Modern Cornish Plays

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Reviewed by Gwyn Griffiths in morningstaronline, 12 January, 2011

Four Modern Cornish Plays

Plays are written to be performed but that does not mean that they don't make great reading.

That is true of this collection of essentially working-class plays which are a robust, haunting and rich portrayal of Cornwall's past.

The Last Voyage of Alfred Wallis by Donald R Rowe is the poignant story of the last years of artist Alfred Wallis's life.

Wallis had been a sailor, fisherman and rag-and-bone man who at the age of 70 began painting seascapes and ships from memory, establishing a new style in primitive and naive art.

Although Wallis was discovered by artists such as Barbara Hepworth, he died in the Penzance workhouse.

In addition to its artistic merit, the play is a treasure house of much original research.

What is largely ignored by English history books is the story of the 1,500-strong Cornishmen's march to London in 1497 to protest about exorbitant taxation for the war against the Scots. A Name Perpetual by Jonathan Plunkett is about Michael Joseph, a St Keverne blacksmith who led the march.

Written in a radical style reminiscent of the '60s and '70s, it was produced for the 500th commemoration of the march which ended tragically on Blackheath.

Where are you gone, Jimmy Trevenna? by Simon Turley spans the Great War period and considers its effects on a rural village in Cornwall. Chilling and beautiful, it highlights the war's "dead meat" as opposed to its "glorious fallen."

In Hell Fire Corner, well-known novelist, poet and translator DM Thomas, brings together many aspects of Cornish life from tin-mining to rugby.

The story hinges on the life of one of rugby's great centres Bert Solomon who, after he scored the winning try in his only international, declined all future invitations of international honours.

It is a terrific play, with brilliant characters and dialogue and overall this is a collection offering professional and amateur performers and directors - as well as the general reader - an exciting range of drama with a distinctive Cornish flavour.

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Forthcoming Books
Featured Books
Regular Cornish language classes with Mick Paynter.

London. The Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Gallery permanent exhibition of women in medicine.

First Sunday of every month, Redruth. Shout with the Red River singers.

Second Wednesday of every month, Luxulyan. Prys Ton – Cornish Music Session.

Until 6 May 2018, Leicester. Lancelot Ribeiro: A Voyage of Discovery, an exhibition tracing the story of this important Indian artist.

5 March 2018, Bodmin. Gool Perran – St Piran’s Tide procession and street dance at Mount Folly.

5 March 2018, Newquay. Gool Perran – St Piran’s Tide procession through Newquay followed by a singing session.

6th, 13th, 20th, 27th March 2018, Cornwall. Singing rehearsals for the Man Engine events.

10 March 2018, Manchester. Discover the suffrage movement through papers, posters and performance at the People’s History Museum.

10 March 2018, Bude. Closing Dance at the Pagan Regional Conference with Merv and Alison Davey.

13 March 2018, Salisbury Cathedral. A talk by Elizabeth Crawford about Millicent Fawcett and her circle.

15 March 2018, London. Book Launch of The Red Vial by Wilkie Collins with dramatic readings from the play by Di Sherlock and Simon Vaughan.

24 March 2018, Southwark Cathedral. Elizabeth Crawford gives an illustrated talk: Pictures and Politics: the art of suffrage propaganda.

24 March 2018, Museum of London Elizabeth Crawford joins a panel discussion on the legacy of the suffrage movement through the eyes of contemporary writers.

31st March 2018, Pendeen. Man Engine Resurrection Tour afternooner event at the Geevor Tin Mine.

Friday 30 March to Monday 30 April 2018, Cornwall. Alan M. Kent’s new play, The Incredible Balti Celtic Carpet Ride tour, tours Cornwall.

1 April 2018, Pool. Man Engine Resurrection Tour afternooner event at Heartlands, Pool.

5 April 2018, London. Launch of Art and Suffrage with a Q&A with the author Elizabeth Crawford.

7 April 2018 2018, Newquay. Nos Dons Kernow / Cornish dance night with Tan Ha Dowr.

19 April 2018, St Just. Cornish music at Trevithick Day, Camborne.

28 April 2018, Camborne. Man Engine Resurrection Tour afternooner event at Heartlands, Pool.