REVIEW: Blast from the Past, Corn Hall

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With the reduced Shakespeare Company spawning any number of jokey revisionist history shows, it comes as a pleasant surprise that Blast from the Past has chosen to take us through hundreds of years of music with gentle good humour, and undoubted musical skill.

With sweeping ambition, the show started from the 13th Century - with a song scribed in a monastery ledger – and finished on songs of the Great War.

Chris Green played a seemingly endless variety of fretted and keyboard instruments while Sophie Matthews did the same in the woodwind section, sang beautifully, and when on the bagpipes seemed to manage both. They notched up thirty instruments in a performance that was as educational as it was entertaining.

Though charmingly low key, this belied considerable knowledge and expertise, and when the songs did get more familiar (and the mood of the audience shifted from academic interest to nostalgic sing-along) it made for a rousing close to a delightful and informative show.

DAVID VASS