A Tale of Two Cities

Date 27th March 2019
Society Aberdeen Youth Music Theatre
Venue Tivoli Theatre, Aberdeen
Type of Production Musical
Director Shirley McGill
Musical Director Kenny Hossick and Ben Torrie
Choreographer Mhorag Anderson

Report

Author: Douglas J Clark, Regional Rep

This musical with book, music and lyrics by Jill Santoriello, based on Charles Dickens novel of the same name, is a strong piece of theatre set in Paris and London at the time of the French Revolution. Joshua Milne was outstanding as the self-loathing, drunken London lawyer Sydney Carton who eventually makes the ultimate sacrifice to save the lives of his friends the Darnay family. He had a wonderfully powerful and yet expressive singing voice as demonstrated in his numbers “Reflection” and “The Letter”. Murray Hossick as Charles Darnay, the exiled French aristocrat befriended by Carton, was another who gave a very strong performance as a man torn between the love of his family and trying to do his best to right the wrongs done to his fellow countrymen. His trio with Carton and his young daughter Lucie “Let Her Be A Child” sung while he awaits his death was particularly poignant. Stephanie Walker as Lucie Manette, Darnay’s wife, had good stage presence and a beautiful soprano voice shown to its best in her rendition of “Without A Word” and in her duet with Darnay “Now At Last”. Strong performances too were given by the actors playing the revolutionaries Ernest and Therese Defarge, Bradley Phillips and Katie Hindle respectively. Their contributions to the numbers “Everything Stays The Same” and “The Tale” were particularly memorable. The story was not all doom and gloom with lighter moments being supplied by the two petty criminal characters of Jerry Cruncher (Callum Mooney) and John Barsad (Sean Farmerey) and by Eildh Bisset’s Miss Pross, the Darnay’s governess. Strong support was given by Alastair Eddie (Dr Manette), Kaleb Connell (Mr Jarvis Lorry), Ben Campbell (Gaspard), Iris McComiskie (Little Lucie) and Angus Hogg (Marquis St Evremonde/Stryver). The ensemble singing and movement were of the extremely high standard we have come to expect from this group. The 10 piece orchestra, under the baton of Kenny Hossick, provided a warm-toned and supportive backing for the singers. Costuming was appropriate to the period and characters. Good use was made of the simple, but striking, multi-level set (designed and constructed by Susan Ball) in tones of earthy reds and browns reflecting the architecture of period. Congratulations to everyone involved in this superb production – the opening night standing ovation was richly deserved.