David Henry as Handel - behind Bill Stewart as Bach
translated and adapted from
the German 'Mögliche Begegnung'
by Paul Barz
'Handling Bach' is a light three-hander that imagines a meeting between the highly successful and worldly Handel and the poor
and barely known Cantor of St Thomas' Church, Leipzig, Johann Sebastian Bach. The two never met in fact, despite being exact
contemporaries, and despite strenuous efforts to do so on Bach's part. These efforts were thwarted on every occasion by Handel's
equally strenuous efforts to avoid such a meeting.
Over a lavish dinner and with lashings of expensive wine, the reasons for the two composers' opposite wishes slowly emerge,
to the accompaniment of some of their glorious compositions.
What the critics said:
"The English language has enabled David Bryer to give a natty title to his
translation of Paul Barz's imaginary encounter between Handel and Bach
… this is likeably acted, civilised entertainment, honouring the soul's
nourishment and the pleasures of the table." - Jeremy Kingston in The
Times, August 18th 1995
"The punning title given by David Bryer to his adapted translation …
captures the light tone of Matthew Francis's charming production. Both
text and performance do everything to contrast the composers." The
Sunday Times, 3rd September 1995
"The dialogue is rip-roaring and the language colourful and often
bawdy." East End Life. 4th September 1995
"David Bryer's translation successfully uses modern idioms without
robbing the play of of its feel for history … entertaining and often very
funny …" Roy Atterbury, Kentish Times 24th August 1995
REVIVAL at the Edinburgh Festival
"Paul Barz’s play translated by David Bryer is a comedy and a very funny one at that ... we enjoyed this immensely.” View from the Stalls – August 14th 2011
“David Bryer’s translation has been creatively staged with an in-the-round performance. Informative, educational and gently amusing, this two-hour piece is never less than entertaining.” Low Down – Tim Wilcock, 8th August 2011.