REVIEW: V For Victory @ Stockwell Playhouse

Reviewed by Kayleigh Place

V for Victory starts off set in the 1940s just after the war starts between Britain and Germany and is about how the Nazis took over Jersey. I have never seen the film, read the book or watched the musical, I knew nothing about what this rendition was going to entail.

The programme took the form of a ration book which I thought was a nice touch and had a summary of the musical’s premise. I learnt upon arrival that it was the in-concert version of the musical so all emphasis was on the songs. When I entered the theatre, there was a very atmospheric 1940s scene already on stage.

The staging was fantastic, the use of the wooden crates for each scene and the transition of moving them about the stage was hardly noticeable and was conducted very fluidly.

 

They start with the open song which I cringed and flinched at as one of the actors, I believe it was Klemens Koehring, was completely off key and out of tune with the rest of the cast, I hoped that it would not be like that the whole way through! Luckily his solo was beautiful, as was the rest of his performance. I am therefore putting this down to not warming his vocal cords up properly before the show.

However, there was another song that had the same effect; Leanne Coupland, who played Judy, when she sang her solo I nearly put my fingers in my ears! Throughout there was the one note that she consistently missed and I noticed her voice wavering on some notes. It was less noticeable when the cast sang together but, being sat at the front, I could hear it rather well, unfortunately.

I do have a good point to say about the singing; the duet between Georgina Rose Hanson (Liz Edward) and Ben Eagle (Bailiff Edwards) was fantastic! The song was so intense with the overlapping lines and the cues which were so well timed, I would go back just to hear them sing it again!

Considering there was not a lot of dialogue, you could tell there was a lot cut out, everything still flowed nicely. You could see the love story between Thomas and Liz, Liz’s anger at her dad for not standing up to the Nazis for Jersey, how Captain Gunther Scheider was becoming to hate the Nazis and what they stood for because he joined the army to protect his country not enslave. I felt even though it was shortened I still managed to connect with each character, understand their backgrounds, thoughts and feelings.

One of the things the irritated me the most throughout were the costumes. They were great. The cast was dressed appropriately for the era the shoes, the stockings, the hats, the braces, everything was well thought about. But they clearly forgot their IRON! All the guy’s shirts were creased from the beginning and the girls’ dresses looking like they had been retrieved from a bag stuffed with clothes to go to a charity shop! The Captain’s Nazi jacket, although one of the items that wasn’t creased, it did not fit him correctly. You could tell that it was way too big and it looked like a child wearing his dad’s suit jacket!

The acting was spectacular especially from Aaron Bannister-Davis who played the main character, Thomas Carter. The emotion and the facial expressions he used felt like it was real life and at times I almost forgot that I was sat in a theatre. It felt as though I was his friend and I was there to help him through his pain and to stand by his side as he rose up against the Nazis to take our homeland back.

Overall the show itself was great, but there is a lot of room for improvement. I would happily see this again if I could be confident that the quality of the singing had improved. If you like historical musical and don’t mind the odd good song being ruined but are up for an emotional, heartfelt storytelling, I’d strongly recommend you see this.

3-stars

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REVIEW: Myth @ The Other Palace

Reviewed by Nathan Deane

Only in the workshop process, Myth is a new rock musical based on the Greek legend Orpheus. The show is presented semi-staged and aims for a full run in the near future.

The show tells the story of Orpheus, a rock-star in his band The Argonauts, with bandmates Jason and Theseus. The Moirai (fates) have their eye on Orpheus and change his fate. They get his band a record label at Underworld Records overseen by Hades and his right-hand woman Medusa, tempt Orpheus with “viper”, a harmful drug, and eventually lead his girlfriend, Eurydice, away from him, leaving Orpheus to quest through the underworld to find her.

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The show was spectacular from start to finish. Before going in to the show, I wasn’t really educated on the stories of Orpheus so it was a pretty strange introduction to the myth, I’ll admit. However, I’m a sucker for rock musicals, so seeing a brand new British rock score was incredible.

The music, book and lyrics, by Sam Cassidy were refreshing and vocally challenging. While it is a rock musical, Cassidy mixed various other styles into the score, most notably rap. This made the music extremely interesting and the cast were working their asses off to sing the score perfectly, which they did.

Orpheus, played by Joel Harper-Jackson, was an extremely well-written character. He has quite an intense character arc, and Harper-Jackson plays the role perfectly. His vocals were pretty insane, and he acted the part flawlessly.

The three fates, Atropos, Lachesis and Clotho, played by Jodie Jacobs, Jodie Steele and Eloise Davies, respectively, provided powerhouse vocals throughout the show and basically narrated the story, overseeing act one and most of act two. These 3 characters were my favourites as they got the best songs and provided the tightest harmonies on the London theatre scene right now.

Matthew McKenna played Hades, the comedic antagonist of the piece. He was smooth and charming, yet truly villainous at heart. McKenna was hilarious and this role was absolutely perfect for him. His sidekick, Miss M, also known as Medusa, was played by Zoe Birkett. Birkett provided a seductive, sassy feel to Medusa and some of her lines had me laughing out loud.

Diana Vickers played Eurydice, Orpheus’ girlfriend. Vickers played the role well, providing vulnerability but also strength at points. The fact that she is hardly seen after act one is incredibly sad, as Vickers’ talent deserves to shine, but she does get to showcase, she gives everything she’s got.

This show is absolutely incredible. It’s unlike anything I’ve seen, and it’s deserving of a longer run.

5stars

Myth runs at The Other Palace until 17th March 2018. Click here for tickets and more information.

 

Cast announced for SOME LOVERS & Further musicals at From Page To Stage 2017

ARIA ENTERTAINMENT’s

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Summer Festival 2017 at The Other Palace

BACHARACH and SATER’s SOME LOVERS

+ West End stars join FPTS shows & concerts

Ben Richards, Carolyn Maitland, Oliver Tompsett, Shona White, Miranda Wilford

Ben Richards returns to musical theatre in the premiere of Burt Bacharach and Steven Sater‘s SOME LOVERS – the head line show for Aria Entertainment’s From Page To Stage (FPTS) Summer Festival at The Other Palace. With just 12 performances, the seats will be some of the hottest musical theatre tickets in Town this summer (Thursday 24 August – 2 September 2017)!

SOME LOVERS is the new musical from Tony and Grammy Award winning writer Steven Sater (Spring Awakening), and Academy Award, Grammy Award winning pop legend Burt Bacharach – his first score for the theatre since 1968’s Promises Promises. A valentine to New York SOME LOVERS is a contemporary parable about the gifts we give one another — a love story, set over twenty years.

Four actors play two characters, Ben and Molly, caught between the present and past. Ben will be played by Ben Richards (The Bodyguard, Priscilla Queen Of The Desert – West End, Footballers’ Wives, Hollyoaks); Molly by Gemma Wardle (Betty Blue Eyes – West End, Eponine in Les Miserables – West End); Young Molly is Jenna Innes (Charlotte Donne in Animus– The Bridewell Theatre); and making his professional debut as Young Ben is Aaron Kavanagh who graduates from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland this month (July 2017.)

Steven Sater says: “Burt and I came to recognise how distinct our love songs were from those ubiquitous pop anthems of young love. Our love songs seemed invariably to express a sort of disaffection, a disappointment, a dark joy, or the renewed determination of a more mature, mid-relationship romance. What if we revisited that Depression-Era classic story, The Gift of the Magi? What became of those young Christmas lovers, twenty years after their happily ever after? And that was the beginning of SOME LOVERS.”

Burt Bacharach says: “Writing songs with Steven has been a different process for me because most of the time it’s the lyrics that come first and then I set them to music. Steven is a very musical lyric writer and it is always a pleasure to take his lyrics with consummate ease and set them and feel very good about the result.”

The creative team for SOME LOVERS: Director – Katherine Hare (Co-founder of Triptic, Resident Dir Sunny Afternoon – West End); MD – Jordan Li-Smith (Ragtime – Charing Cross Theatre); Choreographer – Philip Thomas (Tick Tick Boom! – Park Theatre); Designer – Nik Corrall(Tick Tick Boom! – Park Theatre, Ass Designer Marlowe Theatre); Lighting Designer – James Smith (Ass LD Wind In The Willows – London Palladium); Sound Designer – Chris Bogg (Yank! The Musical – Charing Cross Theatre.) SOME LOVERS is produced in association with SENBLA.

Also confirmed is a terrific cast of West End performers for You Know How To Love Me – A Charles Miller Celebration including: Carolyn Maitland(Ghost, Miss Saigon), Oliver Tompsett (Guys & Dolls, We Will Rock You, Wicked), Shona White (Mamma Mia, Wicked) and Miranda Wilford(Remembering Fred, Thriller Live!) in the Studio (18/08–19/08.) MD/Piano – David Randall and Cello – Sarah Bowler. Co-producer Guy James.

 

Aria Entertainment’s From Page To Stage (FPTS) – a ground breaking International Summer Musical Festival for new musicals at the start of their musical theatre life, runs for three weeks at The Other Palace from MONDAY 14 AUGUST to SUNDAY 3 SEPTEMBER 2017.

FPTS Summer Festival: Monday 14 August – Sunday 3 September 2017.

The Other Palace – 12 Palace Street, Westminster, London SW1E 5JA.

Ticket prices from £7.50 – £20. (SOME LOVERS: ALL tickets £20)

Box Office: theotherpalace.co.uk / 020 7087 7900 

www.frompage2stage.com 

FPTS twitter: @FromPage2Stage 

SOME LOVERS: Dates and Performance Times – All tickets £20

THURSDAY                 24th AUGUST             8pm

FRIDAY                        25th AUGUST             8pm

SATURDAY                  26th AUGUST             3pm and 8pm

MONDAY                    28th AUGUST             8pm

TUESDAY                     29th AUGUST             8pm

WEDNESDAY             30th AUGUST             8pm

THURSDAY                  31st AUGUST              3pm and 8pm

FRIDAY                        1st SEPTEMBER          8pm

SATURDAY                  2nd SEPTEMBER        3pm – 8pm

See below for full listings information for FPTS Summer Festival…..

ARIA ENTERTAINMENT’s

FINAL LOGO - large

SUMMER FESTIVAL 2017 at THE OTHER PALACE

Monday 14th August

Opening Songwriters Showcase followed by Q&A with producer Katy Lipson (STUDIO) @ 7.30PM – concert

Tuesday 15th  August

XY by Oliver Houser, developed with Hunter Bird – (STUDIO) @ 7.30pm – staged reading

Wednesday 16th  Aug

XY (STUDIO) @ 7.30pm – staged reading

Thursday 17th August

XY (STUDIO) @ 7.30pm – staged reading

Friday 18th August

You Know How To Love Me – A Charles Miller Celebration (STUDIO) @ 7.30pm – concert.

Saturday 19th  August

You Know How To Love Me – A Charles Miller Celebration (STUDIO) @ 2.30pm & 7.30pm –concert.

Monday 21st August

Rebel Song by Christopher Dickins, Tom Wright & additional music Jacquelyn Hynes (STUDIO) @ 7.30pm – staged reading

Tuesday 22nd August

Rebel Song (STUDIO) @ 7.30pm – staged reading

Wednesday 23rd  Aug

Rebel Song (STUDIO) @ 7.30pm – staged reading

Thursday 24th August

Some Lovers by Burt Bacharach & Steven Sater (MAIN HOUSE) @ 8pm – full production

One Way by Ben Bonnema & Christopher Staskel, The Edinburgh 7 by Christina Tweeddale, Catherine Myers, the Kielty Brothers & Jordanna O’Neill, The Girls Of Downey Hall by Chris Burgess, Cult! by Tasha Taylor Johnson & Phil Cornwell – (STUDIO) @ 7.30pm – showcasing 4 x musicals in one night – 25 minutes each

Friday 25th  August

Some Lovers  by Burt Bacharach & Steven Sater (MAIN HOUSE) @ 8pm – full production

One Way, The Edinburgh 7, The Girls Of Downey Hall, Cult! (STUDIO) @ 7.30pm – showcasing 4 x musicals in one night – 25 minutes each

Saturday 26th  August

Some Lovers by Burt Bacharach & Steven Sater (MAIN HOUSE) @ 3pm & 8pm – full production

One Way, The Edinburgh 7, The Girls Of Downey Hall, Cult! (STUDIO) @ 2.30pm & 7.30pm – showcasing 4 x musicals in one night – 25 minutes each

Sunday 27th  August

DAY OFF

Monday 28th  August

Some Lovers by Burt Bacharach & Steven Sater (MAIN HOUSE) @ 8pm – full production

Chicken Little by Jake Brunger & Pippa Cleary and Dinostory by Luke Di Somma, Mark Anderson & Erin Carter (STUDIO) @ 1pm FAMILY FESTIVAL 5+ staged reading

Tuesday 29th  August

Some Lovers by Burt Bacharach & Steven Sater (MAIN HOUSE) @ 8pm – full production

Chicken Little and Dinostory (STUDIO) @ 1pm FAMILY FESTIVAL 5+ staged reading

Wednesday 30th  Aug

Some Lovers by Burt Bacharach & Steven Sater (MAIN HOUSE) @ 8pm – full production

Chicken Little and Dinostory (STUDIO) @ 1pm FAMILY FESTIVAL 5+ staged reading

Thursday 31st  August

Some Lovers by Burt Bacharach & Steven Sater (MAIN HOUSE) @ 3pm & 8pm – full production

The Queen’s Nose by Charles Miller/Tim Sanders – (STUDIO) @ 7.30pm  FAMILY FESTIVAL5+ – staged reading

Friday 1st September

Some Lovers by Burt Bacharach & Steven Sater (MAIN HOUSE) @ 8pm – full production

The Queen’s Nose (STUDIO) @ 7.30pm – FAMILY FESTIVAL 5+ – staged reading

Saturday  2nd Sept

Some Lovers by Burt Bacharach & Steven Sater (MAIN HOUSE) @ 3pm & 8pm – full production

The Queen’s Nose (STUDIO) @ 2.30pm & 7.30pm – FAMILY FESTIVAL 5+ – staged reading

Sunday 3rd  September

Closing Gala: An Evening Of Songs From Spring Awakening Creators Duncan Sheik & Steven Sater (MAIN HOUSE) @ 8pm – staged concert

 

Aria Entertainment’s FROM PAGE TO STAGE Festival Listing Announced!

Aria Entertainment’s From Page To Stage (FPTS) are delighted to announce their exciting musical concerts and the eleven new musicals selected to be showcased during their Summer Festival at The Other Palace (Monday 14 August – Sunday 3 September 2017) including: musical royalty with Tony and Grammy Award winning writer Steven Sater (Spring Awakening) and Academy Award, Grammy Award winning pop legend Burt Bacharach’s new musical Some Lovers – a fully produced main house production; and titular royalty on stage in the studio, with the coming of age new family musical The Queen’s Nose by Charles Miller and Tim Sanders, adapted from the right royal author Dick King-Smith’s delightfully funny children’s book.

Fast becoming the world’s leading new musical theatre Summer Festival FPTS moves into The Other Palace, where night and day over the three weeks, the sound of music from new musicals from across the globe will be brought to life; both in the theatre and studio – and even the bar. From a record breaking 302 submissions from 15 countries, the selected new musicals will be showcased and performed by top West End performers, directors, choreographers, musicians and musical directors – showing each step of a new musical, with workshops, readings, showcases (25 minute tasters of musicals) and fully staged productions.

Andrew Lloyd Webber, owner The Other Palace says: “I am thrilled that Katy Lipson is bringing From Page to Stage to The Other Palace, in August. It buoys my hope that The Other Palace will become a breeding ground for new musicals and a genuine hub for anyone interested in musical theatre.”

The Festival will open with the slick cutting-edge Song Writers Showcase (14 Aug), giving a professional platform for some awesome new musical songs from a plethora of musical genres, very clearly showing the calibre of shows on tap for three weeks at The Other Palace.

Creating a perfect FPTS mini Family Festival in the studio (28 Aug-02 Sept), The Queen’s Nose will be one of three family shows alongside the infectious tale of Chicken Little by Jake Brunger and Pippa Cleary; and the first musical where the world of carnivores and herbivores clash in Dinostory by Luke Di Somma, Mark Anderson and Erin Carter.

The Festival includes darker musicals XY (15 – 17 Aug) by Oliver Houser: “whilst studying on my undergraduate psychology course, I learnt about the psychologically harmful, non-consensual corrective surgeries still performed regularly on intersex infants. It’s been percolating in me for 5 years….” – Christopher Dickens and Tom Wright’s Rebel Song (21 – 23 Aug), a topical love story adapted from the award-winning novel At Swim, Two Boys…… – and One Way (24 – 26 Aug), in which an astrophysicist is selected to go on the first one-way trip to Mars by Ben Bonnema and Christopher Staskel.

Other exciting musicals being premiered at FPTS include: The Edinburgh 7 (24 – 26 Aug) by young bloods Christina Tweeddale & Catherine Myers (from the band Honeyblood), the Kielty Brothers and Jordanna O’Neill – their musical of women’s suffrage and their fight to study medicine in 1866…. – The comedy musical by Chris Burgess, The Girls of Downey Hall (24 – 26 Aug) based on Jenny Colgan’s best-selling novel Class …. – Tasha Taylor Johnson (Feed Your Ego) and musical director Phil Cornwell’s Cult! (24 – 26 Aug) a comedy tale of an unlikely group of Doomsday Seekers…. – and One Day (28 – 30 Aug) by Ben Toth, Todd Almond and Anil Baral set in 1972 Northern Ireland: Catholic against Protestant, Irish against British, neighbour against neighbour….

And the headline show: Some Lovers (24 Aug – 02 Sept) – Bacharach’s first new score for the theatre since 1968s Promises Promises. Steven Sater says: “Love songs, that’s what I write. Burt and I had just written our first song together; and some months and any number of songs later I came to recognise how distinct our songs were from those ubiquitous pop anthems of young love. Ours seemed invariably to express a sort of disaffection, a disappointment, a dark joy, or the renewed determination of a more mature, mid-relationship romance. One day, in the heat of July in Los Angeles, as Burt and I laboured away on a Christmas song, I thought: what if we revisited that Depression-Era classic story, The Gift of the Magi? What became of those young Christmas lovers, twenty years after their happily ever after? And that was the beginning of Some Lovers.”

Burth

The first weekend of FPTS sees two special evenings in the Studio, with British composer Charles Miller in You Know How To Love Me (18 – 19 Aug). Joining him will be a host of West End artistes singing from his wonderfully surprising shows including: Brenda Bly: Teen Detective, When Midnight Strikes and The Return Of The Soldier – and Charles will be sharing his favourite behind-the-scenes stories.

And then the Closing Gala (03 Sept) and the icing on the cake of Aria Entertainment’s From Page To Stage Summer Festival is an evening with America’s finest: An Evening Of Songs From Spring Awakening Creators Duncan Sheik And Steven Sater. An extraordinary concert performance of Steven and Duncan’s many musical collaborations including: Spring Awakening, Phantom Moon, Nero, Alice By Heart, Umbrage, The Nightingale and A Home At The End Of The World – and maybe a sneak preview of their latest projects….. a unique ending to the world renowned festival From Page To Stage……

FPTS – From Page to Stage Summer Festival
:

Monday 14 August – Sunday 3 September 2017

The Other Palace – 12 Palace Street, Westminster, London SW1E 5JA.

Ticket prices from £7.50 – £20.

Box Office: theotherpalace.co.uk  // 020 7087 7900

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Exclusive! In The Writer’s Room of the new JACK THE RIPPER MUSICAL!

Interview lead by Charlie White & Nathan Deane

Hey guys! Charlie and Nathan here, we’re back with another interview with not only one, but two writers of the new Jack The Ripper musical, Christopher Pelling and Aaron Barker. They’re back to discuss more on all things JTR!

Describe your thought process whilst writing the show.

Christopher: I think that my part to play is to really capture the truth in these events, and express them through my lyrics and music. It takes precision to get the right effect, and I know I want to get it right and serve justice to these events. The opportunity to make this has certainly opened my eyes on the subject, and I hope it will open the eyes of others too.

Aaron: For me it’s simply abAaout finding the inspiration, and with us writing a musical based on the true events of Jack The Ripper, it’s all about what actually happened and working out how to adapt a true event into a stage adaptation aimed to the vision me and Christopher share, we have a very similar creative common ground and that’s something I value and work with as a writer. The forefront of my mind is the vision and what will look and sound good as a musical.

What parts of the story will the songs tell?

Christopher: The songs will fill some of the key moments and possibly fill in the gaps that have been potentially missed out. I want the songs to stick with the audience, to bring out the truth and highlight the moments that make the events what they are today.

Aaron: The songs will certainly help to develop the plot and with any musical contain a few show stoppers! We want to set up an image of who Jack The Ripper could have been with out saying “Oh yes, it’s him” but give an idea into his mind and madness as well as capture the atmosphere and the aggression of the citizens of Whitechapel and the two police forces in the investigation.

What musicals have inspired this show entirely?

Aaron: Absolutely! For me the main influences for us both be Jekyll & Hyde, Sweeney Todd, Dracula and Frankenstein. Myself personally, as generic as it sounds have taken a hint of influence from Les Misérables and some of my all time favourites like the element of tragedy from both Blood Brothers and Whistle Down The Wind. Absolutely, there’s something about Jekyll & Hyde that’s so capivating and atmospheric, from the very get go, the genius that is Frank Wildhorn has the ability to throw so many emotions in the mix and get the audience locked into a story and feel so many levels of atmosphere! And that’s exactly what me and Christopher what in Jack The Ripper: The Musical.

Christopher: ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ has been something that definitely kept me going. It’s the perfect dark atmosphere, it conveys the story-line perfectly and I believe it’s something I want to live up to. Many other thriller-type musicals such as ‘Dracula’, ‘Frankenstein’ and ‘Sweeney Todd’ have all contributed the desired atmosphere that I want to create in my own way and I’m sure that together Aaron and I will create it perfectly.

Where do you see the show in 20 years time?

Aaron: I hope the show can be in London! The home of Jack The Ripper! A West End run would be perfect, I also have hopes of it touring the UK and Internationally to Europe, Asia and Australia. I also would be honoured seeing amateur, youth and school groups. We have a few ideas lurking groups performing the show, as it’s something different and at the same time for students, educational! We have a few ideas as to where the show will get performed, it’s a matter of aiming for them and hoping that the show can only strengthen.

Are there any novels/books about Jack The Ripper that have become a part of the shows text?

Aaron: Not really no, we’re just watching documentaries and finding out information by informative online resources. If it wasn’t for my history teacher in Year 9 the spark wouldn’t have triggered, and I wouldn’t have been writing this musical! I owe it all to her!

Christopher: I’ve currently been looking at many different documentaries on Jack the Ripper, I’ve also been in discussion with my history tutor on the matter, as he has a large expanse of knowledge on it.

How will you manage the graphic parts of the story?

Aaron: We haven’t yet thought on staging for the graphic nature of his killings, but definitely the atmosphere and the fear! We have a vision and when it comes to staging it we’ll cross that bridge then with the production team. All I can say is, Blood, and hopefully, lot’s of it! In terms of what we’ve written, so far the tension is immense, I often read over the draft script thinking, “did I write that?!” As it’s so sadistic and hopefully justifies what happened on these true events

Christopher: I think currently we just want to get our main material so we have something to work with first. At least with some decent material we have a show to put together! I’m sure there will be plenty of graphic nature to show in the musical, after all, what’s Jack the Ripper without a few buckets of blood?

And finally, any thoughts on ticket prices? Will they be Hamilton extreme?

Christopher: Ticket prices are beyond my thinking. I’d like to think we’d get decent money from the show, but I couldn’t say. Aaron would know more about this than me, I can assure you.

Aaron: For a world premiere, NO, I understand that musical is extremely popular and written by an established writer, therefore the ticket prices are through the roof, but for us as brand new writers and a brand new musical, absolutely not! We want as many people to come and see the show as possible whilst being blown away for good value! We haven’t discussed it yet, so that’s another bridge we’ll cross, but certainly not the price of big blockbuster West End/Broadway shows.

Jack The Ripper is written by Aaron Barker and Christopher Pelling. For updates on the show, please visit the official Facebook page.

 

EXCLUSIVE! Interview With The Man Behind a New JACK THE RIPPER MUSICAL!

JACK THE RIPPER: THE MUSICAL is a new musical from upcoming writers Aaron Barker and Christopher Pelling. The new musical is still in the writers room (on both ends) and has currently not seen the light of day, apart from its Facebook page. The Thespians are here to provide you with an exclusive insight into the weirdly wonderful minds of the shows book writer, Aaron.

Question: First off – why Jack The Ripper? What drew you to the sick, twisted world of the unknown serial killer?

Aaron: Well, I have always loved history, from a very early age. I was involved in a lot of musicals as a performer, and back in 2014 had the idea to write my own. As a new writer I wanted to start out with a story set in stone, so I thought a piece of classic history. I wanted to do something dark, as I thought that there where too many happy, cheesy musicals out there. So the idea of a new dark British historical musical came to mind, looking back to year 9 history classes I recalled studying Jack the Ripper.

I was drawn to doing it as there’s so many elements to Jack the Ripper. It’s become an urban myth almost, like a little legend. But it’s all true! This did happen in the darkest, poorest area of London’s slums and there’s so many elements to Jack the Ripper like the mystery of his identity and motives. the gruesome nature of his crimes and the legacy he has left behind. He murdered in a way no serial killer had done before him and would never do again. Frightening people in his own unique way and striking at just the right time in just the right place.

 

Question: Do you have any theories on the identity of the killer and how do you spin it into the show?

Aaron: I have my own idea of who the murderer could have been. we haven’t yet touched on the suspects yet, but I’m sure we will, we certainly won’t point the finger on anyone saying “oh yes it’s him!” as we want the mystery element to the piece and want the audience to ask questions and make up their own minds. Everyone likes a classic who dunnit, and Jack The Ripper is the classic who dunnit!!

Question: What has inspired you music and book-wise towards your musical?

Aaron: We have been inspired by musicals like Frankenstein, Jekyll & Hyde, Dracula and Sweeney Todd. Me and Christopher are after a musical thriller element to the piece to create an on the edge of your seat, tense and very sinister atmosphere so writers like Stephen Sondheim are massive influences! We also look up to Frank Wildhorn and Leslie Bricuisse who wrote Jekyll & Hyde, the music in that is so atmospheric, beautiful and gripping, as is the book and lyrics of Leslie Bricuisse and we want the audience to feel so many levels of atmosphere, tension, and fear so these writers prove hugely influential in helping us make the show what it will be!

Question: If you could cast anyone in the role of Jack The Ripper, who would it be and why?

Aaron: Me and Christopher haven’t set anything in stone about casting just yet, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. However I myself have an actor called Stephen Carlile in mind. I saw him in The Lion King as Scar here in Liverpool when it was on tour and was blown away by his incredible singing voice and his villainous appeal. He’s one to keep in mind, but as I say nothing is set in stone yet.

Question: When are you looking to premiere the musical and for a how long run?

Aaron: We are looking at anytime between 2019 to 2020 for its world premiere. I have nearly finished the script for Act I and hopefully ill have that done by the end of the year and Act II’s script done for this time next year with all of the music done for 2018. After it’s all done and edited we’ll look for a producer and have the premiere for either 2019 or 2020. Our vision is to have a season of 3 to 4 weeks here in my hometown of Liverpool before a UK and Ireland tour, all depending on the production’s scale and who produces it.

Question: Finally, if you could describe Jack The Ripper in three words, what would they be?

Aaron: Amazing, tense and gripping.

Jack The Ripper is written by Aaron Barker and Christopher Pelling. For updates on the show, please visit the official Facebook page.

OUR OPINION:

We definitely can’t wait to see where this show goes! It looks like it’s gonna be intense and a wild, emotional roller coaster.

Hope you enjoyed this interview! Thanks for reading!

Nathan and Charlie xoxo

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