An outstanding performance by this exceptionally talented cast comprising of two acts. Where strong dominant women from our history books are bought to the forefront in these two musical plays.
The first play is based during the timeline of 1816 during the C19th Romanticism period and the year without a summer. Where free love and romantic poetry walked hand in hand. From my University days studying the Romantic poets and writers, the timeline of events and characters appears to have been accurate.
Many of the famous ladies connected with the two poets, Percy Shelley Bysche and Lord Byron explain their side of how these two men loved and abandoned them. Their hurt and anguish are performed with so much empathy and conviction.
Mary Godwin introduces herself and the audience watch as she agonises centre stage while writing one of the most famous novels of all time Frankenstein. Their portrayal of how this famous book was birthed is as accurate as the History books. Where the group famously are telling each other ghost stories to entertain one another during their long evenings on the Grand Tour across Europe.
The wonderful costumes in the first act were very much in keeping of the period. Amy Lynch as Mary Godwin/Shelley was dressed in a striking all-black outfit boasting a part laced top which drew your attention to her. As she portrayed one of the most famous female authors in Literature whether by name or her novel.
Act two is based during 1455-1485 during the civil war period. The house of Lancaster and York encompassing the famous War of the Roses. I must confess my historical knowledge of this period is limited. This does not detract from the brilliant writing of Will Drake whose passion for this period has been poured into every aspect of this play.
Mothers of past Kings take the centre stage, explaining in depth how each played a role in their Husband’s and Son’s rise to power. The strength of a woman was strongly underestimated throughout History by many.
The entire cast worked exceptionally hard in both performances. The new musical scores brought a fresh feel to the musical genre. Both of these musicals easily have the potential to be taken further in order to be expanded and performed in their own right. With so many older musicals performed year after year these would be a breath of fresh air.
The stamina and acting abilities of each cast member is a credit to the amazing work you see performed in Pub Theatres. Each one-hour single act would have been an entire show for most production companies. However, in act two none of the passion and vigour from act one diminished from their performances.
Rhiannon Drake and Will Drake’s writing and directing skills have excelled in these two plays. With so many actors, lines and historical background blended into the two hours they haven’t put a step wrong. They deserve to be extremely proud of themselves with this successful production.
I would urge anyone who hasn’t seen it during it’s run to do so should this play return to the stage. Two fantastic musicals and a history lesson all in the price of one ticket.
The photo above has been taken from their programme showing the amount of source material used in this brilliant two-act play.
Written and Directed by Rhiannon Drake and Will Drake
Choreography Nikola McMurtrie
Lighting Design Adam Squire
Lighting Operator Philip Marriott
Stage Management Terry Burns.
On from 2nd-6th April 2019.
The Drayton Arms Theatre
153 Old Brompton Road