On Friday and Saturday evenings of last week, St Albans' Maltings Arts Theatre hosted the official launch of The Company of Players' debut album, "Shakespeare Songs". The band playing and singing the songs would have been excellent entertainment alone, but on these two nights they shared the stage with three members of the Maltings' resident theatre group, Ovo, who interspersed the songs with brilliant performances of excerpts from Shakespeare's plays, each chosen to complement the song that followed.
The result was unforgettable. There was laughter, there were tears, there was huge excitement. Magic! Pure magic!
All photos are by the amazing Keith Bache, who must be the UK's foremost supporter of folk and acoustic groups and soloists, and a very big fan of The Company of Players and Said the Maiden.
Yes, my appreciation of the show is very prejudiced. Our youngest daughter Jess is the founder of The Company of Players, and the one who had the vision for the album launch - that's her in the middle of the last photo - but two full houses with standing ovations endorsed my fulsome homage of the twelve very gifted, talented people who made those evenings so special. Social media comments have been rapturous, and rightly so.
Those of you who are persuaded by my almost-hyperbolically glowing account are advised to keep your eyes open for my announcements, some time in the not-too-distant future, of this show coming to a theatre near you. It's already under discussion, and it shouldn't be missed!
Find out more on their website.
And buy the album here!