Entering the world of Daniel Defoe was certainly a fascinating and exciting one tonight at the Mercury Theatre. On entering the auditorium, we saw a set which was just beautiful – the attention to detail outstanding using the entire stage area without any tabs allowing us to see through to the back walls and the whole set was dressed with buckets, pots and pans, candelabras, rope and all sorts of other items. A truly stunning set!
The pre-show entertainment was a perfect introduction to the main production and it was delightful to see such a strong cast of musician/actors on stage. From the same Director and Musical Director as ‘Pieces of String’, this show was fascinating, fun and full of so many different styles of music and it took modern references into a time past. I loved it! Everything about this direction was phenomenal.
I am a huge musical theatre lover and I have seen the acclaimed ‘Hamilton’ in the West End and while I appreciated that production for what it was, I actually probably enjoyed this as a whole production far more. The use of the different levels of the set kept the action moving along with some inventive lighting.
This was a world premiere of ‘Moll Flanders’ and I really appreciated the fact that this entire show broke through the ‘fourth wall’ and included the audience in a style similar to pantomime but with a different twist.
A wide range of music from modern to gospel added to the story and with a cast of just 9 they were all challenged to play numerous roles, instruments and characters and they were all spot on.
Bill Champion as Daniel Defoe was perfectly cast with just the right amount of sarcasm and pathos to lead us through this narrative. Taking the named role as Moll Flanders was Eva-Jane Willis. She was strong and sassy but also had an emotional side which gave us a wonderfully rounded character.
Annie Wensak gave us some great characterisations throughout in her many guises as mother and we particularly liked Alan Vicary in his many roles – often applauded and appreciated by the cast itself – what great fun.
The two glamourous ladies and violin players in the cast were Victoria Hamnett and Hanna Khogali who both delivered a wide range of different parts and some great vocals. Dan Bottomley, Peter Manchester and Mark Peachey were the remaining cast members all who delivered such a wide diversity of parts, some great humour and added further dimensions to the cast. All should be commended.
In fact, I am struggling to put into words how much we enjoyed tonight’s production. I strongly recommend that if you have the opportunity to see this show before it closes on the 13th October – you go! It was a great evening’s entertainment and I challenge anyone who sees it not to enjoy it from start to finish.