Every now and then I go to a show and I don’t review it. It doesn’t happen often – even shows I pay for and go to in purely a fan-capacity tend to get some sort of write-up. I’m just wired that way now, so used to it. On the flipside, sometimes, I forget to review something. I go along and mean to – but the words don’t come out straight away and I’m tired and I hit the wall for a bit. And the moment passes. And it’s too late. And I usually feel awful. Particularly when the show was a good one. Just such a case occurred only last week. I’ll blame the Jazz Festival. I’m not as in the zone as I used to be – so I went to four jazz festival shows in three nights, and that was too much for me – for a bit. Good shows. But you know. It’s a lot of time out of the house. And we’ve all been locked in – and music journalism was cancelled some time ago. So with that fatigue all in mind – very much in my mind – I then went along the very next night to this Mansfield show. A lovely idea. And beautifully executed, somewhat understated actually. And I couldn’t immediately find the words. So didn’t. And that was slack of me. As will sometimes happen. But I hope good things happen and this show gets to tour more widely – it features some of our best songwriters using their skills to interpret the words of one of our best ever writers; in fact one of our only truly internationally significant names and voices in literature. A flag-bearer really. The songs worked. Were delivered dutifully and nearly as often delivered beautifully. There was narration to provide context. And there was no fuss. Just musicians wandering on and off the stage to deliver their song. All of the musicians managed – in the using of Mansfield’s words – to still sound so mightily like themselves. Which I also think is a tremendous skill. And kudos to Charlotte Yates, not just for her vision and organisation but for talent-spotting on the level where she knew that might be the case. Strong voices to re-contextualise the strong voice of Mansfield. And all of this had to sit on the shelf for a year because of that pesky Covid; that damned lockdown. I’ll hang on to the ticket stub – as I tend to do – as reminder of this great show. I love using these stubs to bookmark the various things I have on the go. So I’ll make sure this one only goes in between the pages of poetry. How’s that then?
Stubs is an occasional feature here at Off The Tracks – looking back through the ticket-stub box and remembering how the show went down.