'SING ME A SONG'

Organisers, audiences and media talk about the show

"Thank you once more for last night’s concert. The selections you made, the music crafted around the words, and the narrative between were all just wonderful. There was a fine balance of story, humanity and sentiment, and the choice of pictures was happy. If “Say Not of Me” did not grip people by the heartstrings, the words to Baxter must surely have done so."

John MacFie, owner, Stevenson House, the Stevenson family home in Edinburgh, host of our concert on Stevenson's birthday, November 13, 2018

"It's hard to evoke quite what this is like. I don't know any shows quite like it, and it's beautifully done. A kind of biography, featuring Stephenson's travels, passions and words, with his poems set to music by Judy and Neil. I thoroughly recommend this show."

James Gastineau-Hills, audience member, fiddle player, teacher, Sydney, Australia

"The performance for us at Vailima, Stevenson's home in Samoa, was historic and full of spirit. We were honored -and Samoa was honored to have them come. It was so comfortable and intimate. I am so glad we didn’t miss it because it was just wonderful. These talented musicians, they are true professionals : it sounds like an orchestra even just the two of them. They basically told Stevenson’s life story with music starting from when he was young. We had a whole hour focused on the author. I was so emotional ..you will not be disappointed with the music, the stories and the spirit of the presentation by Neil and Judy." 

James Winegar, President, Vailima Trust, The Stevenson Home, Samoa

“I can’t recommend the RLS show highly enough – it is a huge hit with audiences across the globe. The recent performance in Benbecula included lovers of books, lovers of music and lovers of both. It is a perfect family show appealing to all ages 10-80.   This is high quality acoustic music accompanied by informative and charming narrative performed in the highly suitable bookish environment of the library, great fun and enjoyment for all, and is still being talked about on these islands, indeed one lady here in Benbecula told us that it was the best night out she had ever had as she enjoyed the show so much.”

 

Anna-Wendy Stevenson, Head of Applied Music, Lews Castle College, University of The Highlands and Islands

'Neil Adam and Judy Turner were inter-state guests at Western Australia’s ‘Folk in the Forest’ festival and much of the feedback has identified their Robert Louis Stevenson presentation as a festival highlight. Although we grew up with the almost-household name, it was a delightful experience to discover a humorous and sensitive soul, only now exposed for us in his letters and diaries. The research and the slide-show of contemporary images made this presentation stand out from the crowd. You could have heard a collective gasp from the audience at the scene on the emigrant ship. A special delight for me was, that with a driving melodic guitar and a soaring fiddle interposing arabesques of support and counterpoint, not a single word was lost in a packed venue and without amplification.

Words were very important to Robert Louis Stevenson and obviously they are important to Neil and Judy. I hope they’ve started a trend, but as far as RLS is concerned, they’ve done him proud!'       

 

Ken Kenny, Festival Organiser

RLS performed for the Melbourne Scottish Community  in June , 2017, and here are a few words from their President.

"The Melbourne Scots invited Neil Adam and Judy Turner to present their musical theatre on the life of Robert Louis Stevenson. Some 60 members and guests came to the performance, and were enthusiastic about the evening. Not knowing quite what to expect, most looked forward to being entertained – as indeed they were. What was noteworthy however was appreciation of the opportunity for education on the RLS story and some of his writing, in an atmosphere of such effortless enjoyment and professionalism. If only our schools could master the art….  We wish Neil and Judy every success, and congratulate them on their venture."

"Judy Turner and Neil Adam are accomplished musicians and engaging storytellers and they deliver an intimate performance which will be an eye opener for anyone who is simply aware of R. L. Stevenson as "the man who wrote Treasure Island."  Their presentation in words, music and imagery colourfully illustrates the life, relationships and writings of this fascinating and complex writer. And even those who think they know Stevenson well will respond to the fresh insights they offer as they frequently go off the beaten track in his writings and correspondence to explore their themes. Their richly entertaining performance is captivating for the audience as well as doing full justice to Stevenson as a man and a writer."


David Reid, Chairman, Robert Louis Stevenson Club

"We had the most wonderful evening in the company of Judy and Neil. Their love and passion for RLS is so warm and genuine and their thoughtful and unique presentation of the life of RLS, told through images, songs, prose and poetry, is absolutely mesmerising. Our library in North Berwick was the perfect venue, given the associations with the Stevenson family.  Not only did the audience enjoy a superb concert, they were delighted to learn even more about RLS’s adventurous life. What a great combination!"

Trina Gavan, Senior Area Librarian, North Berwick Council, East Lothian, Scotland

"Thank you both so much for that lovely evening. The combination of the poetry of RLS, the photos from yesteryear, the skilful life story telling by Judy, and the wonderful musical arrangements, singing and storytelling by Neil, made for a delightful, entertaining and educational event,  which ended far too soon! It was the hidden gem of the festival - thankyou for making so many people happy." 

 

Gwenda Matthews, Festival Chair, Carlisle Book Festival

"Neil Adam and Judy Turner performed an evening of beautiful contemporary folk-style music inspired by the poems and words of Robert Louis Stevenson.  This was interspersed with the life-story of Robert Louis Stevenson and extracts from his letters and books along with interesting photographs taken by the Stevenson family.  It was a fascinating and relaxed evening's entertainment with something for both newcomers to Robert Louis Stevenson and established fans."

 

The Swallow Theatre, Wigtown Book Festival

“Judy and Neil’s show about the life, loves and letters of Robert Louis Stevenson is a total delight. There is Judy’s engaging narration, there are projected images of photographs, paintings and documents, and there is expertly played guitar and violin music which is  beautifully arranged, written and composed by Neil. An evening of entertainment, education and delight. Highly recommended!”

Helen Towers, Vice Chair of Borderlines Book Festival, Carlisle

"We'd be very pleased to be mentioned with regard to your 'bookshop tour'. It was a lovely evening, and with our experience we can highly recommend your performance." 

 

Anne and Alan, The Forest Bookstore, Selkirk, Scotland

“It was a really lovely evening, one I’d happily go to again. The multiple layers of music, poetry and song, readings and photographs touched me on many levels. The small-room setting allowed a real connection to the performers, and it was a pleasure to experience such high quality musicianship so close up and with the purity of sound that is only possible with acoustic performances.”

 

Justin Busbridge, audience member

“Sing Me A Song is a beautifully engaging performance, full of fascinating information about the life of Robert Louis Stevenson, delivered in words, music, and visual images projected onto a screen. The style is perfect for the subject - intimate story-telling, as if we've been invited into a welcoming sitting room. The songs - Neil's settings of RLS's words -  are delightfully lively and melodious. Neil sings with vigour, clarity, and sensitivity, accompanying himself with skill on the guitar, joined by Judy's fine playing on a variety of instruments. The performance is a joy. The audience is informed and entertained in equal measure. What more could we ask for!”

 

Gerda Stevenson, Scottish actor/writer/director

The RLS Show was an international guest at the Scottish Storytelling Festival in 2014 in Edinburgh, with concerts in Edinburgh and also outreach events in the west of Scotland. 

"Neil and Judy’s Show on Robert Louis Stevenson was interesting, heart warming, and highly professional. Their performances at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh were a great evening’s entertainment, accomplished musicianship coupled with a genuine affection for the man and his writing. The musical settings to Stevenson’s lyrics are beautiful. We received nothing but great feedback from our own audiences and from their outreach tour through the libraries in the west of Scotland. The acoustic nature of the event seemed ideally suited to the venues, and their enthusiasm was infectious. It was great having them at the festival. “ 

 

Donald Smith, Director, The Scottish International Storytelling Festival

The show was also put on in public libraries in Rothesay, Dunoon and Oban. What better place for an acoustic show about one of Scotland's greatest writers? 

 

"The Stevenson Show was a great crowd pleaser. The mix of spoken word and music, and Neil and Judy's enthusiasm and affection for RLS, was delightful. The people of Bute are still coming in to the library and raving about the performance, and the people that missed it are very keen to have them back! It was a night to remember for all of us." 

 

Patricia McArthur, Senior Librarian at Rothesay Library, Argyll and Bute.

The local paper, The Buteman, www.buteman.co.uk, said:

 

"Judging from the reaction of the audience at the end, this could be one of the most successful Scottish Storytelling Festival events ever held on Bute"    (and, we'd like to point out, there have been many!)

Audience responses to the Edinburgh concerts included:

 

'Enjoyable and exciting'.  ' A magical experience' . 'The story was interesting and the combination with music was fabulous'. 'A lovely event, truly magical, I will now buy a copy of R.L. Stevenson's biography'.

FEATURE ARTICLE FROM ILLAWARRA MERCURY, AUSTRALIA