REVIEW: Saltlines

Raynor Winn and the Gigspanner Band

Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis

This rousing and evocative show, firmly grounded in the past and present of the south west, was musically stunning and lyrically beautiful.

The project was born when fiddle player Peter Knight’s wife read Raynor Winn’s tale of loss, hope and redemption, The Salt Path, and suggested that he and the author collaborate on a project celebrating the south west.

The result is an artful blend of specially created readings from the best-selling author and traditional songs from along the path, revived and reimagined into something rooted in tradition, but unmistakably modern.

Exploring the beauty, stories and traditions of the south west coast path, the sometimes emotional, often uplifting performance from Winn and the Gigspanner Band was spellbinding.

Saltlines begins with the unmistakable sounds of the sea, the lapping of waves and cawing of seagulls, before the audience is immersed in the undulating and varied landscapes of the coastal trail through prose and music.

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Winn’s words, delivered rhythmically with passion are accompanied by sound effects from the band – the hum of bees, the clacking of knitting needles – which build and transform into a composition, each a unique reimagining of a folk song from the coast of Dorset, Cornwall or Devon.

The show took the audience at the Marine Theatre on a visceral journey along the path, soaring its heights, diving deep into its history, dwelling in its present, and asking questions of the future.

A hauntingly beautiful performance so redolent of the landscapes in which it was created you could smell the sea and feel its spray.

Needless to say, the show ended with a standing ovation from the intimate crowd.