The Gypsy Bible
Music by Joe Townsend
Words by Alasdair Middleton
The Lowry, 24 October 2010
The finest moment in this show comes when Rhiannon Meades or Nadia Morgan sings a song that has the refrain ‘Loveless was I born and loveless will I die’. It is the finest moment among a slue of fine moments.
The Gypsy Bible is set in a violinmakers’ shop and the conceit is that we, the audience, take on the role of the customer.
There is much about the history of the violin, its mysterious origins, and the symbolism of the tarot figures heavily too, for some reason (perhaps because of its supposed Egyptian origin?). We are told of pacts with the devil, regaled with more than one murder ballad and treated to much infectious, toe-tapping violin music. In short, we are given lashings of terrific entertainment.
And it was refreshing to see (and hear) the violin loosened from the confines of the orchestra and the string quartet. In The Gypsy Bible its plaintive, almost human cry soared high and free. A magnificent musical treat.