‘an unsuspecting joy’

Welcome to the 2010 incarnation of this blog. As spring (can’t say summer quite yet) has finally started to stick around both seasonally and psychologically, I wanted to start writing about art again. I haven’t done this publicly in some time, but the seeds of inspiration blossomed on Saturday night after attending the final performance of The Ballad of Juniper Davy and Sonny Lumiere at Metal’s space within Edge Hill Station.

A collaboration between harpist Rebecca Joy Sharp and artist Elizabeth Willow as well as several actors and musicians, parts of the station buildings were transformed into a Victorian dreamscape as the audience followed the characters of Sonny and Juniper under the tracks, through tunnels and up stairs. We were led by dark-suited ‘conductors’ to each part of the performance. Music alternated with poetry alternated with birds nests on scales, sewing machines powered by foot and wheels being spun with abandon. The antique and industrial sat side by side, hallmarks of Elizabeth Willow’s work. We heard trains go by outside whilst being part of a very different world inside. Rebecca Sharp ended the performance at the pedal harp in a blue room, seemingly weaving melodies across the harp’s strings as the lights gradually dimmed and only candles remained lit. Haunting and beautiful all at once.

Afterwards tea and biscuits were served on bone china by charming attendents, again all clothed in black. Visitors were invited to give feedback and could choose a small token to take away after completing the survey. There was a tombola with mysterious prizes to be won.

All in all an utterly enchanting evening. Click on the link above to see photos by Mark McNulty which give a nice taste of the event, but sadly cannot substitute for being there. I was told that a CD of the music and poetry is available from News from Nowhere on Bold Street.

Next up…Picasso, Peace and Freedom at Tate Liverpool. Stay tuned…

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