The King Of The Choughs – Review

Trebiggan Productions
reviewed by Jenni Balow

Stone the crows . . . but not the choughs, ‘cos they have special minority status, along with the rest of us living in this proudly independent county, as this funny and entertaining season-opener firmly points out.

Trebiggan Productions, headed by excitingly talented giant of a man Dean Nolan, has replaced the hugely popular Bish Bash Bosh company, and brought in an equally fine writer, Dougie Blaxland.

He has come up with a new play “celebrating the magic and mystery of Cornwall’s legendary heritage” and the red-billed choughs that nest on the cliffs downalong from the Minack, take star roles, together with its multi-talented actors. It well suits Dean, a 21st century Trelawney of the stage, who is as Cornish as they come, with a wicked sense of fun.

He is storyteller to four who go out on a hike together (where is the dog?) to see the eclipse of the sun by the moon in August 1999, close to legendary Tintagel. They are lost in a mist and without a compass, when they meet a mysterious stranger who looks back to a time of crisis in Celtic history, when the throne is in danger of being usurped by a scheming upstart, Bledrig played by the impish Daniel Richards, and the queen, Charlotte Bister, whose burning eyes and writhing hands are mesmerising.

The king’s sweet daughter Gwendolen, Emily Spetch, and servant Gundred, Jason Squibb, who is constantly caught-out as both ” whipping boy and go-between” spar in Blackadder-ish exchanges.

The four double-up for both ancient and modern roles, learning that the King of the Choughs encapsulates the soul of the legendary King Arthur, and it is terribly bad luck to kill the bird.
The People String Foundation, Ben Sutcliffe and Zaid Al Rikabi, underline the action, also playing before each performance, so come early.

At present, this play is due to have a very short run, because Dean is an increasingly busy boy – he will be appearing in a new film version of Peter Pan, starring Hugh Jackman, next year.
Do try to catch it because this is a real feather in the cap for the new Trebiggan company, yes, they deserve to be chuffed!