This weekend saw the Norwich Theatre Royal host the James Plays, and two of the Springers attended thanks to the agency’s Cultural Expansion Grant.
The three plays cover the stories of James I, II and III of Scotland, and are written by Rona Munro and directed by Laurie Sanson. That fact leaves you completely unprepared for the sheer energy and visceral impact of this extraordinary trilogy.
Taken separately, each play – in quite a different creative style to its companions – provides a fascinating insight to the character of the three men, their courts and contemporaries; as a set they immerse the audience into the times in the most involving way.
Not only is Munro’s writing great: modern but credible, strong and compelling; but the wrap of the production is consistently excellent. The lighting and set combine to plunge you in darkness yet disperse light throughout; the choreography of fights and dances alike is fluid and thrilling; the score underpins the sheer energy of the piece in the most spine-tingling way.
The twenty-strong cast are phenomenal, carrying the action for seven hours with fantastic energy and credibility. In fact, in over seven hours of theatre – a marathon viewing experience – there was not a moment where the pitch dropped from utterly absorbing.
James Gorry and I both booked into this event using our Spring Cultural Expansion Grant, a fantastic resource offered to every Springer twice yearly to ensure we all keep immersing ourselves in new experiences and expanding our horizons. We anticipate an ongoing fascination with Scottish history from the cultural tourism posse.