The Raven’s Call: Voices Through Time – Preview Review

The Raven’s Call: Voices Through Time

 The Raven exclusively previews The Raven’s Call: Voices Through Time  (how could we resist a show with a name like that?)

 The ancient village of Ramsbury dates from at least Saxon times, and probably much earlier. In that time it has seen more than its fair share of royalty and regicides, bishops and beer, saints and skulduggery, all of which are explored to entertaining (and occasionally educational!) effect in Ravensbury Players’s latest production: “The Raven’s Call: Voices Through Time”.

 Directed by Matthew Haynes, this joint production with Bella Voce and Friends of Holy Cross draws deeply on Ramsbury’s rich history to tell a tale of love and loss spanning the centuries.

Lee (Adrian Compton) is an old man in search of the father he never knew (excellently portrayed by Alex Deadman). As he and his wife Beth (Beverley Mann) explore the history of Ramsbury and of Holy Cross itself, Lee experiences the value of community, the strength of belonging and the power of togetherness. Finally he is able to resolve his feelings of grief and bereavement and make sense of his own place in the village and in the world.

A motley crew of historical characters parade through Lee’s emotions – kings, queens, scoundrels, saviours, peasants and politicians. Presiding over them all is the guiding spirit of the Raven (an ensemble of local children) and underpinning the story is a constant theme of individual contribution to the richer life of a community.

Keeping in with its own message of collaboration and inclusion, The Raven’s Call stars friends and neighbours of all ages, including several families represented across multiple generations. Most of the cast get to play numerous parts: Jess Perkins has fun as Queen Isabella “She-Wolf of France” to balance her tragic Doris (Lee’s mother, widowed before she was ever married); John Barker is imposingly regal as both Henry VIII and King Egbert of Wessex; Tom Jeffery plays the self-serving Roger le Poer, Bishop of Salisbury, and the snooty Reverend Hawkins; and David Mayer gives us a fiery Oliver Cromwell alongside a yobbish Edward I. Meanwhile our own Town Crier is somewhat typecast as a smug royal messenger sent to lay down the law to the uncouth – and uncooperative – locals.  And see if you can spot the director’s cameos – there are several Hitchcockian moments to watch out for!

The singers and musicians of Bella Voce are on form as ever, interspersing the scenes with songs from the ages as they accompany us back through time.  The technical crew have overcome the challenges of staging a play in a church and their impressive audio-visual effects (even some church bells!) add to the richness of the performance.

 Part pageant, part panto, part concert, part love-letter to the place we call home – if you’ve ever wondered what Horrible Histories might make of Ramsbury, this is the show for you!

The Raven’s Call: Voices Through Time. Three shows only:Ramsbury-Raven-A-Raven-Calls-flyer

Friday 7 December 7:30pm

Saturday 8 December 3:30pm & 7:30pm

Adults £10, Children £5.

Tickets from the Post Office, High Street Ramsbury