The Mystery of Edwin Drood – Bi-Centenary Anniversary Production
Aria Entertainment produced the revival of the famous Rupert Holme’s musical in the bi-centenary year of Charles Dickens. The production starred former Coronation Street star Wendi Peters and ran at the Landor Theatre transferring to THE ARTS THEATRE, WEST END for 35 performances from April-June 2012.
Directed by Matthew Gould
Musical Direction James Cleeve
Costume Design Jean Grey
Lighting Design Ben M. Rogers
Set Design Natasha Piper (Landor) and Ben M Rogers and James Henshaw (Arts)
Photography Claire Bilyard
Casting Benjamin Newsome
Reviews of the production:
With song-sheets in hand we’re invited to join in the songs before the play even begins. This kick-starts a raucous atmosphere that’s carried throughout by the energetic cast, under the assured direction of Matthew Gould.
After the commencement of the play the songs are flawless, the choreography sharp and the staging, under a full music hall proscenium, is sumptuous.
Wendi Peters (best known as Coronation Street’s Cilla Battersby-Brown) illustrates her singing prowess, but is just one member of a strong company that barely put a foot wrong!
There are laughs aplenty and it’s a knee-slapping good time.
WHATS ON STAGE – ★★★★★
Aria Entertainment’s lively production bursts with colour and vitality echoing the period from the glare of the footlights to the rich gold and crimson decor.
The cast handle the broad acting style with panache and balance the melodrama neatly with their music hall personae, stealing bows if a scene goes particularly well.
Director Matthew Gould steers his cast with a steady hand to recreate the charm, wit and sheer fun of the working class music hall. Rupert Holmes’ vision of Victorian England may not be too accurate but for entertainment value it’s fairly hard to beat.
THE STAGE – ★★★★
The Arts Theatre, some of whose decor seems not to have been renovated since Victorian times, is the perfect venue for rolling back the years to London’s music-hall heyday.
The cast of 14 is superb – particularly ‘Coronation Street’ star Wendi Peters as the opium-touting, bosom-heaving Princess Puffer – and so is the nimble-fingered band. A literary mystery solved – by a musical guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
TIME OUT – ★★★★★
The Mystery of Edwin Drood is a delightful 1985 Tony-winning musical which Aria Entertainment have splendidly revived in a cosy pub for a night of light-hearted entertainment.
The gregarious cast act, sing, and dance with 19th century charm while they regale us wirh a mischievous ‘whodunnit’ tale whose conclusion ends up in the audiences hands.
Director Matthew Gould and musical director James Cleeve have fashioned an endearing production with a perfectly casted team of actors who take on their parts with incredible composure and joi de vivre.
The songs were all executed beautifully with just enough originality to keep the performance dynamic and vibrant.
It’s no wonder this musical has won accolades in the past. With the right creative team, inventive design, and a polished cast, Edwin Drood soars and is bound for a successful run.
ONE STOP ARTS– ★★★★★
A multi-talented cast are crammed into this little pub theatre for an unforgettable play within a play.
STAGE WON – ★★★★
Thrown into the mix is Corrie‘s Wendi Peters, a sucker punch of sauce as buxom performer Miss Angela Prystock, who plays Cockney opium seller Princess Puffer, revelling in bawdy numbers like “The Wages of Sin” and “The Garden Path to Hell”.
There’s masses of madcap energy fizzing about the theatre, in no small part thanks to director Matthew Gould’s knowing eye for comedy and spirited musical direction from James Cleeve.
The second half kicks off with the audience gamely singing along with the music sheet that was (terrifyingly for some) handed out when we first came in – which says everything you need to know about how captivating this show is.
WHATS ON STAGE – ★★★★