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October 2004
Compleat Angler
Anglers
Anglers


The Compleat Angler

The OFS

Fri 15th - Sat 16th October 2004

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By Niels Eernink

Let there be no mistake about it: angling is one of the most fruitful metaphors for life. 'The Compleat Angler' by Izaak Walton grinds out every conceivable virtue. David Frederickson and Chris Wilkinson give a meaningful performance while giving some actual good fishing tips.

Frederickson is an angler (Piscator) with at least 30 years experience. He knows as much about fishing as he does of good living. He knows no greater grace than to be patient and thoughtful while fishing (life). When he meets the unsuspecting Viator (Wilkinson) he even unleashes a range of statements that rank a fisherman above kings, princes and lords. They decide to become tutor and pupil in a angling education. Viator is bound to agree with all the wine, ale and generosity of his new friend.

Piscator and Viator travel though the North of England and disagree amusedly on the benefits of fishing (water) and country (earth). But Piscator overwhelmes Viator with his wit and wisdom. Viator is a lousy fisher, at first, but improves greatly by the jolly but strong words of his new master.

A quick lesson in angling metaphors for life: Using a different line for every river = adjusting to your surroundings. Fishing needs patience = life doesn't deliver promptly. All fish have their bate = everyman has temptation.

The play is a joyful experience and the characters are extremely good-natured. As you would expect from a 17th century play, upbeat classical music enthuses the audience and gives a sense of time. The simplicity of it all makes for a humbling feeling. Hence the silent and amused grins by the 12 strong Old Fire Station audience.

The play practices what it preaches: the simplicity of just a stage, two great actors and a rod. When the play ends with joyful sing song and dance by these masters of the stage, the experience is complete.

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