Cadfael – The Virgin in the Ice (tour – Worthing, Connaught Theatre)

– The Virgin in the Ice
is adapted from the Ellis
book by the director Michael Lunney. It tells the story of
Yves (Daniel Murray) and Ermina (Hannah Burton) who become lost
with their nun tutor in the snow. The play opens with Brother Elyas
(George Telfer) being attacked while out searching for the lost
group. Cadfael Gareth Thomas is summoned to Bromfield to tend to
Elyas; he joins the search and begins to unravel a sinister plot that
leads to murder.

The play
is set on a frequently changing stage, sparse and open much of the
time with a feel of space and cold; accentuated by whistling wind in
the open rooms. When outside the cast often battle to be heard over
the raging wind, a battle they don’t always win and some of the
text can be lost.

This is a very exposition-heavy production, adding
that to the multitude of scenes in its filmic format you need to
concentrate to avoid missing crucial elements of the storyline. The
scene changes are seamless with the action, albeit on a dimmed stage,
using sound and video to continue developing the narrative.

respect to the cast, they all give strong but not outstanding
performances. Thomas as Cadfael is present on stage for the majority
of the play portraying this self-effacing character in a controlled
if occasionally somewhat understated style. The other roles that
stand out are those of Olivier (Tom Kanji), Ermina and Yves
all of whom are central to the plot and free from the
constraints of monk’s habits – of which there are quite a

therefore, this production has good performances throughout. The
over-exuberance of the sound can distract from the text at times.
However the use of multimedia adds to the production and aids it to
flow and maintain momentum.