Review: Noye’s Fludde – Bradford Barnstorm, Tithe Barn, Bradford on Avon
Friday 12th July

Having been billed as a great community event and also being funded by English Heritage, Britten 100 to name a few, there was a great deal riding on this opening performance of a weekend of music, including the World premiere of Ona’s Flood by Harvey Brough.

Barnstorm is the charity which has been set up to work with English Heritage to bring the Tithe Barn back to the heart of the community, to regain its significance and value within the historic town – subsequently it is the legacy of this weekend which is part of occasion and all involved should be justly proud.

Noye’s Fludde is an epic musical tale of the biblical story of Noah’s Ark, here the family dynamics underpin the action. This large cast braved the first performance well – the spectacle of the lighting of the storm no doubt far more impressive in an evening performance when the sweltering sunshine had dipped, alongside this the ease with which the children would have approached subsequent performances is just one of the issues of the environment and restrictions of rehearsal time of something on this scale.

Joe Slater Dix (Sem) Rosie Morgan (Mrs. Jaffet) alongside the other young soloists were excellent, the roles of Noye (Andrew Slater) and Mrs. Noye (Harriet Feilding) whilst sung with great commitment by professionals were always in fine company and the cast dynamics were very strong.

Mike Daniels (Conductor) had brought a large orchestra together making a glorious sound in the tithe barn rafters whilst Ben Occhipinti (Director) had the task of manoeuvring a cast of many around the design from Tom Paris. A foreboding tap, multi coloured rain macs, a rainbow and wonderful balloons made some tableaux moments highly memorable.

At the back there were times when the sound system did not support the work on stage; however the overriding joy of seeing this barren space transformed into a moment of community pride and venture is the winning card. The baton needs to be handed onward and without question the bar has been set high – which can only mean exciting times ahead for this new team and equally historic venue.

Petra Schofield