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The story was born out of a previous pandemic, in the 14th century, in our local community. The musical contains much to entertain and keep the audience on the edge of their seats; multiple murders, a great deal of mystery and beautifully composed music which helps convey the narrative and emotion of each scene.
Thanks to the imagination of the author Chris Nickson, it is a heart-warming tale beautifully delivered by an eclectic set of characters brought to life by the talented bunch of performers.
The actors were a wonderful blend! From cheeky Walter, played by the young Eddie Waller; to the principal character, John the carpenter, played with great charisma by Adam Stickler; to Beth, the widow, portrayed with a maturity beyond her years, by Clara Coslett. These three I am sure will go far and enjoy enormous success.
Music and dialogue flowed seamlessly, with lyrics about justice and truth, to those of a romantic lilt, on to despair and back again. There are some particularly good episodes, one a stunning musical delivery between the brothers Sir Richard and Sir Henry, played by the accomplished John Conway and Gerard Fletcher. Poles apart in their morals, the two brothers are at loggerheads, but brothers at heart nonetheless, as their catchy duet points out.
A similarly enjoyable and titillating comic duet by Martha, John’s landlady, and her former love interest, Brother Robert, was performed with aplomb by Stephanie Putson and Philip Meeks, with Hayley Mitchell too, giving a very convincing portrayal of the stoicism and at the same time, vulnerability, of Katherine…..what an evocative voice!
Choreographers and musicians (the latter graced the stage all through the show) deserve every accolade for presenting a thoroughly professional and dynamic performance.
Some of the music was reminiscent of Les Misérables: the lyrics were powerful, the delivery clear and passionate. All credit to Mary Hennessy for her witty script; to Martin Coslett and Peter Gray for their musical creativity and also, to musical director, Harry Style, for translating their work into something truly “Wonderful” for the stage.
I could sit through the whole production again and enjoy it no less. But sadly, it has run its course at The Pomegranate Theatre. I hope that this production will have further success in towns and cities throughout Britain. It deserves further airing!
Review by Pat Seymour.
Pat is a former teacher and a member of the Newbold Scribblers writing group in Chesterfield. She is currently writing her autobiography.