Baillie Gifford Tent, Friday 25th August
Rachel and Becky Unthank are singing sisters from Northumberland who have gradually built a reputation for 'doing their own thing' in many different ways. Here they appeared in conversation with the author David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas amongst others), interspersed with some great music. They were accompanied on piano by Adrian McNally, their manager, accompanist, arranger and, incidentally, Rachel Unthank's husband.
Mitchell asked some prepared questions in an amusing manner and clearly loves the Unthanks' music. They all came across well on stage, Rachel answering more of the questions than her younger sister, but each of them seemed to be enjoying it. McNally, too, gave articulate and thoughtful answers, trying to be a slight counterpoint to Becky and Rachel's more light-hearted responses. McNally, by the way, is an outstanding piano accompanist.
The music was outstanding, if slightly disrupted. Despite having to compete with a nearby rock band, the noise of heavy rain on the theatre roof, and, comically, fireworks from the nearby Tattoo, they ploughed on manfully. Fortunately everything died down in time to hear Becky sing Nick Drake's River Man, accompanied only sparsely by McNally on piano – albeit an extraordinarily complex accompaniment at times.
Excellent. Listen out for The Unthanks.