This vivacious and utterly engaging adaption by Julian Mitchell of the 18th century bodice ripping tale by James ParryThe True Anti – Pamela expertly directed by Matthew Lloyd, heralds the opening of the Transformation Season with the style and fizz associated with only the very best vintage champagne.
The true story of passion, love, sexual scandal in the sleepy town of Ross-on –Wye reflects the life of Jem Parry, a young music master gifted with a wonderful voice who encounters Mary Powell, the richest heiress in the area and she becomes his pupil. What follows is a turbulent lustful affair and when marriage is mentioned, Parry’s position as a “mere music master” brings its inevitable social limitations.
Sion Daniel Young as Jem Parry embarks on a virtuoso performance as the young musician, moving seamlessly from the early stages of lust into love and the futile quest of marriage; fighting the rules of the society who hold finance and class above all other desires. Switching from narrator to lover effortlessly with an integrity that holds the audience enthralled in this immaculate production.
Peta Cornish as Mary Powell is as perfect as a porcelain doll; at times fragile yet controlling, spoilt and proud. Ed Birch excels in his multitude of roles, his chameleon like qualities allowing him to glide from the pompous Doomsday with a great supercilious grin to match into the realms of Dicky Jeffries the most terrifying prospect of a suitor to any young woman.
There is not a breath out of place in this totally absorbing script, the attention to detail is masterly, from the opening bars in the music lessons to the carefully created cameo roles, the minimalist set design from Ti Green (who is on this occasion also responsible for the costumes) ensures that the uncluttered vision allows maximum attention to the tale unfolding in what is a resounding success.