The Finborough Theatre presents


Live Canon: Committed

Presented by Live Canon in association with Neil


An evening of poetry

Directed by Helen Eastman

Performed by Anthony Shuster, Alice Barclay and

Charles de Bromhead


January 18th 09





A review by Marion Drew for EXTRA! EXTRA!


What a pleasure it is to have people who are unmistakably passionate about words, set about

presenting poems that delight and surprise, darken and illuminate, provoke and seduce, in short

,do all the things that fine poetry does in its own inimitable way. 


This programme of works, selected with evident care from the worksof among others, Francis

Thompson, Emily Dickinson, Siegfried Sassoon and Charlotte Mary Mew was beautifully crafted.


Opening with Elizabeth Bishop’s poem Visit to St. Elizabeth’s, the journey we were to take along

the very fine line between poetic genius and insanity was clearly laid out for us. For in this

evening of ‘poetic bedlam’, in the company of poets, many of whom had been labelled insane or

mad and/or who had spent time in asylums, we did indeed find ‘the tragic … the talkative …

honoured… the brave … the cranky … the busy … the cruel …the wretched’.


There were well known favourites like Robert Frost’s timeless The Road Not Taken, but also less

familiar or frequently performed poems such as Reverend Christopher Smart’s humorous My Cat



Most of the poems were spoken, but a few were sung a cappella,such as poet/composer Ivor

Gurney’s Severn Meadows, and one of the performers, Alice Barclay set Siegfried Sassoon’s

Everyone Sang to a beautiful three-part intricate arrangement.


The performers, Anthony Shuster, Charles de Bromhead and Alice Barclay performed with a

clarity and respect for the works that was commanding, and maintained an engaging intensity

throughout. Their performances provided just a touch of interesting visual life to the poems, but

this was never allowed to intrude into the space and freedom given to the words themselves to

work their enchantment.


What an extraordinary art form poetry is, and what justice Live Cannon does to it!


In another poetic venture, the group will be presenting The Immortal Memory - The 250th

Burns Night, a 250th anniversary of the birth of Scotland's national poet, Robert Burns. It would

seem that this should not be missed.



Immortal Memory is on the 25th January 2009


Tickets £28, £24 concessions INCLUDING three course meal

and a wee dram


24 Hour Box Office 0844 847 1652








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