Langham Court Theatre has a delightfully engaging performance on tap this month.
All that seemed missing were barmaids and pints of ale slapping on old oak table tops to complete the scene as The Mystery of Edwin Drood ensued.
Based on the unfinished Charles Dickens novel The Mystery of Edwin Drood the musical, was written by Rupert Holmes, and uses an audience vote to determine the murderer of the title character.
The performance immediately draws the audience in to the Music Hall Royale’s production directed by Roger Carr (Cabaret, The Drowsy Chaperone).
With more than 20 cast members, the stage frequently overflowed, which only helped add to the music hall atmosphere and general gaiety.
Expertly wrangled by Alan Penty (Chairman/Mayor Sapsea/William Cartwright/James Hitchens), who is the main instigator on the stage, the cast and scenes are introduced and the story of two young adults (Heather Jarvie-Laidlaw as Miss Alice Nutting/Edwin Drood and Cati Landry as Rosa Bud) betrothed as children unfolds.
The Jekyll and Hyde-like choirmaster John Jasper, was played to villainous boos by Montgomery Bjornson, with melodramatic style (if he had a moustache he would have twirled it), while Landry was coy and sweet as an ingenue should be.
Audience favourites included Susan Wilkey (Princess Puffer/Angela Prysock) and Drew Kemp (Durdles/Nick Cricker). Wilkey’s “The Wages of Sin” was performed with proper guile and Kemp continuously flirted and winked at both cast and audience from the sidelines, obviously enjoying his time on stage.
The play is full of high-spirited tunes, witty asides, and fun choreography. Kudos to pianist Joe Hatherill as Thomas Purcell, maestro of The Music Hall Royale Orchestra who kept the party going.
The Mystery of Edwin Drood is an evening of good fun and easy entertainment – along with a true whodunnit ending.
The Mystery of Edwin Drood is on to March 21 at Langham Court Theatre, click here for information and tickets.