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Reviews of North to South at Titirangi Festival of Music, 25th March 2010

This years’ contribution by the Titirangi Folk Music Club and friends to the Titirangi Festival of Music featured a larger group of performers than ever, with about 20 on stage at the conclusion receiving a resounding final applause.

Whether for a hemisphere-to-hemisphere epic or the 1,000 mile trip from Auckland to the Bluff, audience members were immersed for two hours in the passenger camaraderie, the hard manual labour of the crew and the heart-break that were all part of sea journeys of long ago. There was a real mix of music from the stomping great What Shall we do with a Drunken Sailor providing a rousing finish to the first half, to more reflective numbers like Poverty Knock and Leaving of Liverpool. Weaving together the musical numbers laden with the emotions of migrants, sailors, and the welcoming Maori was the highly polished descriptive narrative, brilliantly delivered by the Captain.

From the songs to the set design and props -- including ship’s lanterns positioned at each side of the stage flanking barrels, trunks and the craft baskets for the women passengers -- to the sketches of nautical endeavours projected onto the backdrop and even some unexpected cannon fire, this was an evening that showcased the nautical folk heritage in fine form.

North to South featured: Rudy Sunde, John McGowan, Lew Black, Paul Howarth, Bob Large, Gavin Asher, Shiree Lee, Ian Bartlett, Sheila Duggan, Beverley Young, Rosemary Thomas, Jean Reid, and Ra and family. Production by Tony Smyth and Tricia Lee.

Brian Osborne

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Greetings from an old sea dog!

I would like to offer my compliments to all concerned in the production NORTH TO SOUTH on Thursday 25th March at Lopdell House. It was a brilliant show and I heard many favourable comments. I had persuaded some friends of mine and Pat’s to come along. They had never been to a TFMC show before and were amazed at how well everything was done.

Everybody played their part excellently. The ‘passengers’ all looked as if they had lots of dramatic experience – not only with acting but also singing. The Maritime Crew, as ever, sang their hearts out and sang so well.

The pity of it is that the show was only scheduled for the one night. A heck of a lot of work went into producing it and it will be a shame if it is not performed again. I would suggest possibly a TFMC club night? Also I think that Auckland Folk Festival would be a superb place to put it on.

There was a pretty good house but I am little disappointed that there were, seemingly, not that many TFMC members. Why?

I have paid tribute above to the performers but I must also give special commendation to Tony Smyth who first conceived the idea of the show and then went on to write the narrative. Tricia Lee was the director and she did a wonderful job knocking everything into shape. Well done you two.

Andrea Reid designed the lovely drawing for the poster and programme notes. Ian Bartlett dug up those beaut photos and drawings which were used as a backdrop. Then there the others – nameless, sadly – who did all the myriad things necessary to get the show together. Mustn’t forget Shiree Lee for, among other things, creating a fantastic horse!!

Everyone connected with the production should be very proud indeed!

Rudy Sunde

Rudy played the role of Captain (narrator) in North to South.

Last Update: 2014-08-20