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Home is a moment that’s quickly lost. Afterwards you can only sail through the ghost of it.
The Wellspring explores the complex and shifting dynamic between a father and son, as the writer Barney Norris and the musician David Owen Norris overlay the palimpsests of their separate lives in a cycle of memories that gradually intertwine and become a concerted search for connection, belonging and home.
The Wellspring opened at the Royal and Derngate, Northampton, in March 2022.
David Owen Norris and his son Barney reflect on the slipperiness of history in a show that elegantly defies categorisation… that gently but deeply explores the percentage contributions of genes, parenting, luck and maybe fate to who we are… It’s partly a top-class concert, in which pianist David Owen Norris exquisitely samples Clementi, Grainger, Elgar and others. These recitals interleave and sometimes underscore monologues by the musician and his son Barney that are autobiographical and also geographical… The Wellspring is subtitled “a memory cycle” and the 70 elegant minutes … are structured around set-piece anecdotes… there is a universality in the Norrises’ reflections on the slipperiness of history (their memories of shared events can differ) and the sheer range of talents on display.
A mesmerising, enchanting, entertaining and uncategorisable assemblage of ideas, motifs and metaphysical musings, framed notionally around their two life stories but encompassing a much broader canvas: this is an extraordinary elegy to fathers, families and the creative spirit… a brave and beautiful tribute to [the Norrises’] relationship… elegantly constructed and beautifully presented.
At once a celebration of [the Norris] family’s roots and a bittersweet acknowledgement of the transience of a community through generations.
A quiet little piece, full of wistful wisdom: entirely beguiling.
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