Monday, 6 July 2009


It's not just me that's inspired by my surroundings. Gonamena is the tale of ordinary Cornish farming folk who experience tremendous upheaval when mineral prospectors come to their farm and turn it into a copper Klondyke. During the boomtime it's live hard and play hard but when the copper price crashes not only is there no work but no farm, either for the land has become poisoned. Emigration is the only solution to avoid solution.

This could be a mawkish and self-righteous account of environmental disaster and the Cornish diaspora but it's bloody funny and gets its point across without preaching -- although there is a preacher among the central characters.

For several weeks throughout June, what are known as the Gonamena guerillas have been targeting local supermarkets and shopping centres to publicise the show at Sterts Open Air Theatre. A gang from our row went to see it because one of our neighbours is in the chorus and I really enjoyed it.

For a cast largely made up of amateurs the standard is very high. As I pointed out once before on this blog, amateurs do things out of sheer love and the depth of feeling that the subject matter shines through in this production of Gonamena.

And because they are local, and therefore Cornish, they use the script and language to devastating effect and ably demonstrate the best of Cornish humour. The bottle boys and old biddies have brilliant timing and a number of people have told me that last Wednesday's performance was the best yet.

The performers are now going to have a little break but will be back from Monday 20th July to Wednesday 22nd.

I strongly recommend Gonamena to anyone who is in south-east Cornwall during this time. If you want an idea of what performance looks like, go toRob Frost Photography to see pictures of the rehearsals.

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