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Nine Daies Wonder

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We think of the publicity stunt as peculiar to our age but the antics of Will Kemp, a shameless self-publicist and one of the leading actors in Shakespeare’s company, prove otherwise. In 1600 he danced his way from London to Norwich in nine days, entertaining an adoring public en route. The Society of Strange and Ancient instruments, with dancer, Steven Player, celebrate Will Kemp’s account of the journey, ‘Nine Daies Wonder’, with raucous dance tunes and more refined music of the Elizabethan age.

They breathe new life into this celebrated event, which remains awe-inspiring 400 years on, and still has the power to delight, baffle and amuse.

The best sort of early music concert: a strong thematic concept with a splendid mix of less and more well-known music on an interesting array of instruments – and there was something for everyone. Early Music Review

Kemp is Steven Player, a remarkable dancer but also an actor blessed with a proper comic’s features: wry but benign, heavy-browed, with a quick impatient self-mocking cleverness. He puts on a stunning show from start to finish, a marathon of virtuoso hoofing. Jeremy Avis sings the solos with a light happy versatile tenor but is – like several other musicians – startlingly willing to join dances, or indeed fights, when required. And all the while Salaman and her ensemble are insouciantly picking up or changing instruments. It roars along. The Strange and Ancient ones head off now for one-night gigs ... and it’s worth trying to catch them. You won’t find anything else quite like it.
Libby Purves, Theatrecat review

I just wanted to say a big thank you for bringing Nine Daies Wonder to Bury St Edmunds – I loved it and the incredible joy in the room was palpable.
Nick Wells, Director of The Bury Festival

Thanks again for a great performance, knock out show! 
Delma Tomlin, Director, National Centre for Early Music

The Players

Steven Player : dancer, guitar, cittern
‘A Renaissance Fred Astaire... Steven Player was worth the price of admission by himself’ Adelaide Review

Clare Salaman : director, nyckelharpa, hurdy gurdy, Hardanger fiddle
‘Beautiful, vehement playing’ The Daily Telegraph

Jeremy Avis : voice, percussion, cittern
‘Avis soon had them dancing in the aisles’ Jerusalem Post

Alison McGillivray : violone, viola bastarda
‘Superbly expressive and imaginative playing’ Early Music today

Ian Harrison : pipe and tabor, voice, cornett, whistle, pipes, percussion
Ian Harrison's shawm playing reached ecstatic heights of virtuosity’ Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung


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