As opening night draws closer, Bishop FM were lucky enough to be invited to a special press viewing of Bishop Auckland’s ambitious night show – Kynren-An Epic Tale of England.
With a cast and crew of over 1,000 volunteers from the Bishop Auckland area, it wasn’t long before we bumped into someone we knew…and then someone else….and then, well, you get the picture.
Two minutes into the spectacular night show and the idea that this is an amateur show that you’ve been dragged along to in support of friends and family has long gone, and I can assure you that this is no ‘am-dram’ production!
The show itself lasts around 90 minutes, is performed in 23 acts and transports you through 2,000 years of English history from Roman times to World War II (…..so says the press pack).
It’s difficult to describe the show, which is every bit as spectacular and heartwarming as the press pack promises.
Central to the story is a young Bishop-lad called Arthur who receives a whistle-stop tour from Bishop Hensley Henson, through some of the most important and game-changing moments in English history. It’s a bit like Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure visits Lumiere at the Little House on the Prairie.
The setting has been exceptionally well planned, with staging areas positioned around (and in!) a central lake. The lake sits directly in front of a replica of Auckland Castle, which in turn is placed in front of the real thing. As the sun goes down and the full movie-effect sound and lighting appear, the setting is absolutely tremendous and gives a really magical feel to the evening. The seating area is designed to hold 8,000 people, and with the additional buzz from a large crowd I’m sure the overall effect will be spine-tingling.
The storyline is good, if a little bit obvious in places, but it was really heartening to see a clever mix of historical events from both English and County Durham history. I think we all know that if it’s 1066 and a bloke called Harold turns up to face an army of archers, it isn’t going to end well for him – so, you need to go expecting to be entertained rather than educated, but if you keep that in mind you will not be disappointed.
The cast, made up of around 600 volunteers from County Durham were absolutely brilliant, especially the children and the animal-handlers. The whole show was extremely well choreographed, and I have to say a huge credit to the costume-makers who have done an absolutely exceptional job at helping to bring the whole thing to life.
The show opens on Saturday 2nd July and runs through to 17th September. Ticket prices start at £25 for adults and £19 for children, and there are tickets still available if you’re interested in heading along to this family-friendly show.