A hybrid concert / play staged in a candlelit church; Clare Noburn’s script told the personal story of visionary, composer and medieval abbess, Hildegard von Bingen.

Actress Niamh Cusack read the imagined thoughts of Hildegard although she was an invisible voice throughout the piece, at least to many of the sell-out crowd. This was a pity because without seeing her interact with the surroundings it seemed as if her words could have been pre-recorded.

Due to numerous pillars, restricted views were a problem for 50% of the audience, many unable to see harpist Leah Stuttard who remained seated at the top of the aisle.

The wonderful singers did process along and around the aisles, which added greatly to the performance, for both practical and artistic reasons.

Star of the show was the gorgeous lighting design by Natalie Rowland; it was moving and beautiful. The gothic arches and ornate wooden choir screen, topped with a crucified Christ, glowed with green, red, blue and gold.

In the same way that Hildengard’s books are a mixture of her visions, chants and illustrations by her scribe, so this show was a multimedia experience of light, song, music and storytelling.

Intriguing, sublime and serene.

Four stars