Saturday 14 January 2017

There Came a Gypsy Riding

Photography: Sean Owen of
This beautiful play is quirky, challenging, full of light and shade, Irish superstition and humour, tears and reflection and hilarity. It was referred to by the cast and crew as 'the Irish play' as we'd hit so many challenges along the way: by the time the show went up, we were on our second directing team, our second Simon and our FOURTH Louise - all for very understandable reasons. Our set designer was taken ill with the final painting and set-dressing still to do. And the East Anglian snow set in on opening night. Yet this fabulous tale withstood those challenges, and continued to delight.

"What a wonderful way to kick off a new year - select a top-notch play by a master of the craft, equip it with a superb cast in sparkling form, give them a simple but beautifully imaginative and evocative setting, complete with sound effects - then sit back and enjoy! I know this simple recipe involves an enormous amount of hard work beforehand but the end result was a fitting addition to the SB canon and deserves to take its place amongst the top ten productions during my theatre-going at the Barn [c. 30+ years.] Please convey my congratulations to the whole team - let's hope the weather improves swiftly, along with the attendance figures." Stephen S

"That was worth the wait. A fine and very moving drama, wonderfully performed. I also really appreciated the lyrical nature of the piece and the beautiful set. Well done to all, I look forward to the next show x" Barnaby M

"We both enjoyed Gypsy very much. The second half in particular was very moving, especially the scenes between Mel and Reuben, but everyone gave engaging and sympathetic performances. The direction was unfussy which let the script and the performances breathe. You should both be very pleased with the results." John H

"Some stunningly beautiful performances from Rachel Godfrey-Bennett and Abbe Swain as well as Bridget, Simon and Dad (sorry I don't know your names). Incredibly moving and at the same time funny. Well done Sewell Barn, you've done it again!!!! X x x" Wendy A

"Just to say how impressed [we] were with your play last night, very enjoyable, Bridget & Louise superb, the accents were accurate... I have met women like Bridget long ago, the turn of phrase, humour and sorrow portrayed fabulous. Congratulations to everyone. All doing it for the love of their art. I am so pleased I went to see it." Kathy S

"What a wonderful evening at the theatre. A beautifully written play full of conflicted characters, and acted to perfection. I haven't seen a play in a long while that has me laughing out loud and then nearly in tears within seconds, before back to laughing! This was an emotional journey for both the characters and the audience but it's one well worth going on. Five more chances to see this and I'd strongly encourage anyone to go if they can. Well done to all involved." Emma K

"Went to see the incredible There Came a Gypsy Riding at the Sewell Barn Theatre tonight. Both of us were very moved. Great acting, beautiful set, fab script. 😊 Well done all." Moira H

"Saw it last night. ....fabulous. Heartbreaking and hilarious." Joanie G

"There are many difficult questions we face in this strange state we call living. Some are very long and complicated but have very short, not always easy, answers. Then there are those questions that strike to the heart and soul and have answers that could fill a lifetime, WHY!, is one of them.

"Here in Ireland a family gather in their seaside holiday home for a difficult anniversary. Even the most celebratory of family gatherings can have their problems can't they, and this isn't one of them. Tension builds as the characters struggle to deal with a troubled past. There are places that can't provide answers, perhaps sometimes it's better not to know?

"The cast carry a taste of Ireland to Norwich with 'colourful' language and accents, essential when producing a play based in a country famous for its use of language. Characters appear fully formed on stage, solid and ready to engage both the audience and each other. We are taken through all the range of emotions as the drama plays out its course. But we are given chances to laugh as well. With the usual wonderful, very effective set, to work with and good costume, the cast have a perfect place to create and they do brilliantly, but also they are making us think about the big questions. Appreciate this production, I certainly did. ;-)" Mark M

"Your production was truly splendid - funny, moving and poignant in equal measure. First-rate performances too." Peter W

"I experienced a fantastic range of emotions during the performance .. I was amused by Bridget, the dotty cousin, while feeling a degree of pity for her loneliness; I felt empathy for the family, having lost Eugene in tragic circumstances; I also was impatient with them as they were reluctant to let him go. The young ones really wanted to get on with their lives and I felt sorry for their plight. A simple set offered a lovely background, with cleverly interspersed sea and seagull sounds to add to the atmosphere. It was a well put together production and all the cast did it proud. Well done to all concerned. It is definitely one to see, so book up quickly. It runs tonight and Wednesday through to Saturday next week." Jill F [Chair - Sewell Barn Theatre]

"Congratulations to the There Came a Gypsy Riding team - lovely performances and direction - all the best with the rest of the run!" Luke O

"...see a poignant, charming and engaging production of "There Came a Gypsy Riding". Beautiful performances from all the cast including Abbe Swain and Rachel Godfrey-Bennett. You'll be glad you did!" Steve A

"Funny, sad, thought-provoking, and beautifully acted. Can't recommend this play enough." Sandra B