In the anniversary year of what would have been Britten’s 100th birthday, Indomitable Productions bring an ensemble presentation of Benjamin Britten’s Five Canticles to life. Director Roxana Haines engages the diverse collaborative efforts of musicians, singers and performers in to a singular time transcending narrative.
The story of The Old Man is somewhat awkwardly aligned with the differing Canticles as it dips from the present time of 1979 to the memories of 1942 and 1944 respectively; not aided by the loss of audibility due to a prominent piano and lyrics delivered upstage. However, the performance was evoking with a beauty of the music combined with some emotionally and convincingly staged scenes especially when the triple threat of Withers, Haig and Schouten combined in Canticle IV. Tenor Guy Withers is steadfast in his performance throughout all five Canticles sustaining great control and developing character empathy as the Epic Canticle adventure peaked.
Although Haines’ production is steadfast in not battling visual spectacle to detract from the masterly works of Britten, it would have been most captivating to develop the visual story element further and one cannot help believe that the use of lighting in conjunction with George Drake Jnr.’s soundscape would have evocated compassion, empathy and purpose to mirror that of Brittens Canticles.