Edinburgh Fringe 2011
Deacon Brodie formed the inspiration for Louis Stephenson’s classic Jekyll and Hyde. The Deacon, as he became known was a man living a double life in amongst Edinburgh’s crooks and citizens. Being set in Edinburgh itself, and written by a young Scottish composer, Peter D Robinson, gives the new piece of musical theatre writing the sense of authenticity to the story, and with it being presented in the heart of Edinburgh itself, is an enjoyable evening of entertainment.
Particularly striking is the sound evoked by this 20 strong cast, and a further 6 piece orchestra at the Stockbridge Parish Church. Acoustically the venue was wonderful, and when matched by an accomplish cast of performers from a whole host of age ranges, The Deacon is a treat to the ear.
The writer has structured the show in an interesting way, and uses the vehicle of a pub landlord or inkeeper to tell his patrons the story of Deacon Brodie, whilst various members of his audience take on the roles that arise as the plotline unfolds. However, whilst an interesting initial idea, this needs development. At times the boundaries between the narrative and the retelling are blurred. Various characters who aren’t the Inkeeper take on the responsablity of telling the story in the third person, leading to a confused plot line and the audience questioning who is who and what exactly is going on.
Carpe Diem productions are a NODA affiliated company, and have clearly invested much time and effort into mounting such a production. It was a real treat to see performers from across a whole host of generations coming together and enjoying the material they were presenting. It was a further pleasure to see the company as a whole coming together including the orchestra, and creative team, creating a united company and completed production.
The score is accomplished and the writer has clearly considered the subject matter creating a score true to the material. When presenting a show on the Fringe it is important to use its constraints to your advantage. There are other shows that play for an hour and leave their audiences wanting more, with both an Overture and an Entranc’e, although allowing a strong showcase opportunity for the orchestra, it lead to a running time of two hours with no interval, which was perhaps a little ambitious. Nonetheless a enjoyable and solid evening of musical theatre performance.