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Review: Edward Fox and Family, Saints And Sinners, Royal Hall, Harrogate
SAMSON Fox was the civil engineer and former mayor of Harrogate, with the fox motif on the weather vane still to be seen off Skipton Road. He was a major force behind the construction of the Royal Hall.
Direct descendant Edward Fox, dandy gentleman actor, and his very theatrical family were prominent in the long-running project to revive the hall to its past glory.
Indeed, the last time they had been in the building, they had been on scaffolding, as Joanna David recalled in the one impromptu moment of Sunday’s scripted performance, an exclusive rendition of a “brand new show in a venue very close to their heart”.
This was one of the first shows to be mounted under Harrogate Theatre’s new role of programmer at the Royal Hall, and the audience of more than 1,000 testified to the possibilities of this partnership. Saints And Sinners was as elegant and eloquent and immaculately enunciated as you would expect from Edward Fox, who was typically dapper in lemon socks as he led wife Joanna, daughter Emilia and velvet-suited and voiced son Freddie through their guide to “all that’s naughty and nice”.
More banter between the Foxes would have been welcome, along with elucidation of the choices made for the collection of the really good, the truly wicked and those torn both ways in a night of wisdom and wit from Genesis, Jane Austen, Jonathan Swift, Keith Waterhouse and assorted limericks.
Instead, a pianist and flautist linked the readings in an ultimately monotone manner.