“A beautifully written and delivered piece. A paean to the town. Simplicity of presentation driving funny and intense writing. Loved it.”
“This was wonderful. I heard every beautiful word. Affectionate, ribbing, and poignant. Thank you for such a loving portrait of dear Macc. Beautiful cello too.”
2014 saw the 100th anniversary of the birth of Dylan Thomas. As a tribute, Ailsa Holland and Jo Bell wrote a ‘play for voices’, set in Macclesfield and inspired by Thomas’s Under Milk Wood. Jo and Ailsa, accompanied by Lili Holland-Fricke on cello, performed Under Silk Wood on Friday 20 June 2014 at St Michael and All Angels Church, Macclesfield, as part of Barnaby Festival.
The performance was very well received by a fabulous audience who laughed and cried in all the right places. Jude d’Souza wrote the following review:
With Under Silk Wood, Jo Bell and Ailsa Holland used the template of the classic Dylan Thomas piece to weave a rich tapestry of tragedy and farce, employing the disparate denizens of the lightly fictionalised ‘Silk Town’ to sketch a beautiful, moving and amusing thumbnail portrait of Macclesfield. The cast of characters were deftly drawn with subtle homages to the original and given further depth by the cello accompaniment of the equally talented Lili Holland-Fricke, whose character themes drew from instantly familiar refrains and evolved in pace with the story, often to amusing effect.
Bell and Holland remind us that in a small town like ours, all of our stories are firmly interwoven, whether through blood or happenstance. Their clear love of Macclesfield, warts and all, was reciprocated by an enthralled audience. Best of all was the evident and infectious enjoyment of the trio themselves, shining through in their lively performances – when those on stage are having so much fun, it’s impossible not to join them.
There was a second performance of Under Silk Wood at St Michael’s Church, Macclesfield on Saturday 1 November 2014. It is the recording of this performance that can be heard here.
Photos: Anthony Mulryan