Michael Brunström offers, inter alia, an hour with John Constable, culminating in a recreation of his masterpiece The Haywain, the chance to become Willie Lot’s Cottage or a handsome spaniel and a chance to play Elgar’s Cello Concerto on Noel Edmunds.
Star rating: ****
Venue: The Dragonfly (Venue 414)
Do not worry how unlikely that sounds because it all makes sense once you are there, taking your place in the Suffolk landscape. Although I am a mere tree in the background I am fully engaged in Brunström’s narrative, many of the salient points offered with simultaneous translation into bongo, for those of us who speak percussion.
We learn – through a trio of short sketches involving a game of Deal or No Deal, a monochrome minidressed Mary Quant and Anita Dobson en deshabille singing Anyone Can Fall in Love in a Marvel character mask – about the three pillars of the masterpiece that is The Haywain: Nature, Work and Nostalgia. How these sketches illuminate our understanding of nature, work and nostalgia is up for debate, quite frankly, but Brunström’s skills as a game host, Mary’s gripping tales of her time harpooning whales off the coast of Newfoundland and Anita – well, you really have to see Anita for yourself – are so sense-bendingly entertaining that understanding is really not the point.
Brunström’s epiphany at the end of the show is both moving and extremely messy. And the results are available for sale, after the show. After all this, we are as appalled as he that The Haywain only reached No2 in the Nation’s Favourite Painting poll. Go for the great merchandise, go for the marvellous classical music, go for a game of beachball. But most of all go for some great, crazy, never to be forgotten comedy.