EVERYTHING SO GOOD--COULD HAVE BEEN 10/15 MINUTES SHORTER. - STEVE HURRELL
04 Jun 12
I loved it. Was more fun than Les Mis and Phantom put together. Don't miss, worth every penny and more, had such a good evening and I don't usually enjoy shows that much so this he is a diamond. - Dom Jay
30 May 12
Brilliant. Right from the start the actors make you excited and pull you out of the typical theatre audience feel - you're encouraged to sing along, laugh out loud and vote along! Excellent acting from all the cast, and genuinely makes you wonder who the murderer was! Want to go back every night to see what the cast do if audiences vote for different characters. Definitely go see it for a fun night out - G.A.
30 May 12
The Mystery of Edwin Drood at the Arts Theatre- Explores Charles Dickens unfinished final novel, who died half way through writing it. We are introduced to members of the 'Theatre Royale', by an excellent, traditional Chairman (Denis Delahunt), hosting a music hall style rendition of the story. Pre show opening songs, such as 'Champagne Charlie', cleverly transforms the Arts Theatre into a 19th century Music Hall, buzzing with audience participation (song sheets provided) stiffened by cast members in the auditorium, successfully encouraging people to join in. The Musical Play then begins and the plot develops quickly, amidst good songs, sung well by various characters. The plot works through the murder (or was it)? The first act needs time to develop because of the depth of Dickens characterisation. Possible motives are presented for each suspect- obvious clues are amusingly emphasised, then the audience is asked to vote, after passionate pleadings from each suspect to vote for Them! The vote scene is hilarious, and there is much wit and funny lines throughout. Most impressive is the combined strength of the cast; each member oozing proficiency in clarity, expression and timbre. The songs provide great variety, some being used cleverly to develop character, interspersed with gusty choruses from 'the entire company'- every movement is choreographed with panache and fine detail. Music is voraciously led from the electric piano by James Cleeve, including flute, clarinet, percussion, trumpet and cello, (I couldn't discern a single wrong note)! Costumes and scenery are very impressive. Each performer shows professional sparkle and excellence, but the extra gush and tingle factor came for me as Wendi Peters powerfully and reliably let rip from the very first note of 'Don't Quit While You're Ahead', right up to the end of the show, inspiring those around her superbly, with a stirringly excellent finale, she is now, historically, a Music Hall Star! Finally, the serious strands of this Dickensian feast are subtly brought together in 'The Writing On The Wall' by Edwin Drood (Natalie Day), sung with great feeling and emotion. Dickens was himself a successful entertainer, so would have loved this excellent performance - he would also have savoured the argument, mystery and stimulation of debate, and would have adored the excitement in the audience. This novel is well documented as the most discussed of all, and for good reason. The production has grown tremendously beyond the Landor, and I did write that I believed it should get to the West End- the obvious courage, determination and graft that has gone into 'Drood' has paid off splendidly. The intimate, comfortable Arts Theatre, is a delightful venue. Does more await? Certainly it is good enough! The timing is right, celebrating 200 years of the great man. In any event, again, congratulations to the cast, production team and Director Matthew Gould. - charlesdickenslondon
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