If you are looking for a wave of musical theatre energy to carry with you homeward bound after a show, then a trip to see Fisherman’s Friends the musical, currently tethered in harbour at Curve is the plaice to be. Despite your age and your bad hip you will be skipping out those theatre doors, jigging away back to your car and heaving on those invisible ropes. Just don’t do that whilst driving!
We are all out on the rough seas with the fishermen as the show begins and the company vocals are at full throttle behind the gauze. The theatrical effect is immediate engagement and similar in grabbing one by the musical theatre balls as in the powerful opening of Come From Away. It’s heart-stirring stuff and the Fisherman’s Friends company never let up. Cornish Fisherfolk Central Casting never looked or sounded so authentic and the cast give off an intoxicating sense of a real community.
The show is directed by James Grieve with lively choreography by Matt Cole. The musical supervision and arrangements are by David White. The piece is produced by Royo, Flying Fish Productions, Mighty Village, Island Records and David Mirvish. The striking harbour front set (known as The Platt) and costumes are created by Lucy Osborne.
Featuring live character musicians Fisherman’s Friends boasts a large acting cast including including Susan Penhaligon (Maggie) and Robert Duncan (Jago). All their Cornish accents are as authentically warm and tasty as a plate of freshly baked scones. Don’t forget – jam on first then the cream not like what they do in that there Devon! Heathens! What definitely comes across is a proper sense of a hard-working and passionate community all very proud of their Cornish roots and songs. There’s plenty of ribald humour, beautiful harmonies, passionate singing of the sea shanties all mixed in with touches of poignancy and a consideration for the dangers of the seas. Parisa Shahmir has a particularly soulful voice as Alywyn and James Gaddas is outstanding as Miranda’s father Jim. Overall there is enough energy on stage to blast the tide back from coming ashore and whip up a storm or two.
So moi dears, if you happens to have missed the last Cornish shanty festival (Buggeration! I did!) then you should certainly get yourselves down to Port Isaac (depicted on stage complete with seagulls) to hear and see the story of Cornwall’s most famous ‘buoy’ band stomping up a wind and a gale on Curve’s main stage this week. You’d be a right pilchard not to. It’s irresistible! .
Now excuse me, I have to catch the shipping forecast. “Dogger – Fisher- Bite – fair- Portland – Cromity – North Utsire – good…”