Charles Dickens unfinished novel was brought to life in splendid music-hall style by Battle Light Opera Group last week and with a Christmas theme providing a good way to start the season.
The show involved a large amount of audience participation with the fourth wall well and truly departed to reveal a ‘show within a show’.
The audience were greeted by cast members in Victorian outfit mingling about and heckling each other, and a few songs thrown in for good measure in which all were encouraged to participate.
The show was called to order by real-life master of ceremonies Paul Goring, and what an impressive job he did throughout providing just the right amount of interaction between audience and cast.
The first character to be introduced was John Jasper grandly played throughout by Alex Roberts in his first principle role and who sung with considerable ability.
Contemporaneous with Dickens writing and in British pantomime style cross-dresser Edwin himself was impeccably played by Keren Keeler-Moore who actually played three characters as Alice Nutting and Dick Datchery.
Next to be introduced is Drood’s fiancé Rosa Bud (Natasha Dallaway) who gave some lovely vocal performances, followed by the two poor orphans from Ceylon Neville and Helena Landless (Lee Lyons and Natascha Lampert-Montier) adding a nice touch of comedy and menace with their “geographically indistinct” accents!
The Reverend Crisparkle is another suspect well played by Don Young, and Princess Puffer (Ailsa Vinson) gave a very good performance as Madame of an opium den, particularly in the number “The Wages of Sin.”
The next suspect is the gravedigger Durdles solidly played by Tim Gordon (and his sidekick Olivia-Jayne Bannock) whose shifty character prompted me voting for him as the murderer.
Lastly we meet Crisparkles assistant Bazzard played by Adrian Collins who gave a very funny performance.
Thanks to the talents of director Sheila Crighton and clever choreography by Alison Campion BLOG presented it in such a way that even if you lost the storyline in places there were plenty of things to entertain along the way.
All in all a very entertaining evening and I am sure that even Charles Dickens himself would have approved of the ending to the book he never finished.
For more information on BLOG and to audition for their next show South Pacific visit battlelightoperagroup.org.uk or find them on Facebook.