Poetry in motion for St Albans Festival

THE OFTEN-repeated refrain that poetry needs to be performed to be enjoyed at its best proved to be absolutely true at the Maltings Arts Theatre in St Albans last week. As part of the St Albans Festival, professional actress Linda Marlowe portrayed numero

THE OFTEN-repeated refrain that poetry needs to be performed to be enjoyed at its best proved to be absolutely true at the Maltings Arts Theatre in St Albans last week. As part of the St Albans Festival, professional actress Linda Marlowe portrayed numerous women in her adaptation of new Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy's The World's Wife last Wednesday.

And she proved once and for all that in the right hands, poetry can come alive and provide cracking entertainment. The World's Wife takes the wives' perspective on famous men throughout the ages from Mrs Midas and Mrs Freud to Queen Herod and The Kray Sisters.

It is a totally unique piece of work and Linda was more than a match for it.

Using the minimum of props - a chair was pretty well it - and just nominal changes in dress, she transformed herself into a selection of the women from the poems.


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From the start with Little Red Cap examining her involvement with the wolf to the final verse about Demeter bringing the Spring in her footsteps, the show was totally compelling.

Linda was on stage for over an hour and she never faltered - although she was thrown slightly off kilter when a mobile phone went off.

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She was particularly good as Mrs Midas, Mrs Tiresias and Mrs Faust and I really loved her Frau Freud - a tongue-twister if ever there was one - Delilah and the deliciously abrupt Mrs Darwin.

By means of movement and a small amount of dance, Linda managed to link the poems seamlessly, allowing them to flow one to the other.

She more than justified the huge applause which greeted the end of her performance.

MADELEINE BURTON

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