Yesterday, I went to see a performance of a show that describes itself as “The UK’s most spectacular open-air live show”. That is quite a claim.
However, I think Eleven Arches are not over-egging the pudding when they claim that for their show, “Kynren – An epic tale of England.” It is a fast-paced, rollercoaster ride through 2,000 years of history, from the Roman occupation of Britain through to World War 2.
Without actually seeing the show it is really hard to grasp the scale of the performance so let’s look at some figures:
- A seated audience of 8,000 people
- A cast and crew of around 1,5000 people.
- A stage of 7½ acres.
- State of the art soundscaping systems and lighting.
If that wasn’t enough Kynren breaks that age old rule of entertainment.
Never perform with children or animals
Horses, donkeys, geese, goats, oxen and sheep all make an appearance and the extensive cast includes more children than I could count. That cast is made up of volunteers from all walks of life who have been trained for their roles by professionals. These people are doing what they love to do and that really shines through during the performance. It is their town, their show, their history and that sense of ownership by the cast results in something really special.
The attention to detail in the special effects is also incredible. From the Rose Window of Durham Cathedral projected on to water, to the silhouettes dancing in the castle window, it is all there if you look for it, but keep your wits about you. I found myself so engrossed in one scene that I completely missed the reconfiguration of the stage for the next. All of a sudden there it was and the action moved on.
So what about that claim to be “The UK’s most spectacular open-air live show”? I would defy anyone to disprove that. Bishop Auckland has learned to think big again and it is fantastic this show is being performed in our little corner of County Durham. The video above produced by Eleven Arches will give you a flavour of the show but you really want to be ordering your tickets and experiencing the show for yourself.
The Kynren season for 2017 runs from July through to September.