Wednesday 30 March 2016

Heart of Winter -Review


Written by Tim Connor and Lia Buddle

Corinne Priest

An informal performance of Buddle and Connor’s new song cycle Heart of Winter offered a chance to hear this new-release played live and to discover its collection of witty and charming songs alongside a stunning musical accompaniment. 

Far too often song cycles miss the mark. Lacking solid narrative, they can hover in a musical theatre limbo, somewhere between show and concert and frequently ending up as a series of numbers with little interlocking story or characters to connect with. Heart Of Winter marks a vast improvement on this trend.

Consisting of 12 songs, we are thrown headfirst into the life of primary school teacher Kate, a brash and bold Northerner who's not afraid to say exactly what she’s thinking, literally seconds after she has broken up with her boyfriend of three years following her discovery of his having cheated on her.  

We follow Kate’s journey through all the typical stages of post relationship trauma, pushing through into learning how to readjust to normal life. On My Way is a hilarious up-tempo number, whilst Back To School – in which hungover, Kate has to teach needy, loud primary school children how to be dancing crabs -  offers an instantly recognisable nuance. The balladry works too. The audience is moved to an intense silence in Something About The Room as Kate becomes aware of quite how much she misses being in a relationship, battling with her inability to hate her unfaithful ex.

Connor's lyrics are delightfully easy to relate to, but it is their performance and delivery by Corrine Priest that makes this album wonderful.  Priest is a gifted actress. Her comedic timing is spot on and she catches the humour in each lyric with clear intelligence, alongside the change you feel in her voice and persona amidst the album’s more reflective moments.

Heart of Winter marks an impressive creation. Lia Buddle, Tim Connor and Priest should all be proud of their achievement. 

Reviewed by Charlotte Darcy

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