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REVIEW: Little Triangle's Latest Offering Is The Hilarious 'Choose Your Own Ending' Musical Of THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD

REVIEW: Little Triangle's Latest Offering Is The Hilarious 'Choose Your Own Ending' Musical Of THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD

Friday 8th July 2022, 7:30pm, Reginald Theatre, Seymour Centre

Rupert Holmes' (Music, Lyrics, Book) multi Tony Award winning musical of Charles Dickens' final, unfinished novel is given the Little Triangle treatment in their brilliant interpretation of THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD. Proving again that big budgets aren't required to deliver high quality musical theatre, Alexander Andrews (Director/Designer) and the Little Triangle cast and creatives deliver a captivating expression of the twisted tale.

Charles Dickens' serialized novel, THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD started to be released in April of 1870 but the fatal stroke that claimed the author's life on 8th of June 1870 meant that he never completed the work, with only six of the planned twelve installments published, at least three, posthumously. This left the mysterious disappearance of Edwin Drood up for speculation as to whether the young man was still alive or had met with foul play. As with Dickens' other works, THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD shows a darker side of Victorian England with Edwin Drood's (Ren McMeiken in the Pants role) uncle, John Jasper ( Zachary Aleksander), a choirmaster at the fictional Cloisterham Cathedral being a obsessive and possessive person with taste for opium and a eye for his nephew's intended, Rosa Bud (Phoebe Clark). The story follows Jasper's visit to Princess Puffer's (Tisha Kelemen) Opium Den in London, where, under the influence, he lets slip his obsession with Rosa Bud, and later into the crypt of the late wife of the Mayor of Sapsea (Jordon Mahar) following a bribe of booze to the alcoholic stonemason Durdles (Addy Robertson) and their assistant (Brodie Masini). Added to the mix of odd characters are the Landless siblings, the horny Neville (Denzel Bruhn) who shows an interest in Jasper and the combatitive Helena (Kimmie Jonceski) who sees Edwin as her rival for Rosa's attentions and their guardian the absurdly restrained Reverend Crisparkle (Simon Ward) and his assistant Bazzard (Madeleine Wighton).

Given the prominence of Pantomime and Music Hall/Vaudeville styled shows at the time Dickens died, Holmes has used this genre to influence his work. Andrews extends the metatheatrical styling further than Holmes' work by having each actor introduced as themselves rather than playing a role within a role. The expression that the performers are confiding in the audience as they expose the tricks of their trade as Assistant Director Sophie Perkins narrates and directs with the assistance of Lucy Ross who is doubling as stage management, both with script in hand. Andrews' design reinforces the idea that the mystery of theatre is being removed with the staging consisting of unfinished scenic flats and calico toile templates of costumes as the audience is witnessing a rehearsal session in order for an ending to be determined.

Accompanied by a three-piece band led by music director Andy Freeborn, this high energy work is filled with classic vaudeville style songs, love ballads and dark moody moments. Across the board the vocals are of an incredibly high standard with committed consistency in the accents. Of particular note is Zachary Aleksander's rendition of Jasper's deliciously dark A Man Could Go Quite Mad combined with fabulous physicality, Phoebe Clarke's flawless expression of Rosa's dripping distain for Jasper's veiled love song Moonfall which is in wonderful contrast to the sweetness of the soprano duet Perfect Strangers with Ren McMeiken. Tisha Kelemen's The Wages of Sin and Settling Up The Score and Madeleine Wighton's Never the Luck allow the minor characters to showcase the performers ability while Addy Roberston and Brodie Masini provide brilliant comic relief paired with hilarious accents as Durdles and Boy.

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD is a delightfully absurd interpretation of what Dickens probably intended to be a dark and moody work. The 21st century adjustments made to Holmes' book add a lovely Queer twist in keeping with Little Triangle's history of representation of the diversity of its company and its audience. The participatory element of the experience is fun and while there is a sense that some of the voting is rigged, hopefully the core voting of who killed Edwin Drood will result in each show being different and Holmes' options of endings will all get an airing over the season.

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From This Author - Jade Kops

Jade is an Aviation Safety Training Instructor with a love of Theatre, Cabaret, Musical Theatre, and music and is a committed advocate for the live performing arts industry in Sydney and Australia.... (read more about this author)


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