Tag Archives: Kieran Parrott




Wilton’s Music Hall

RUDDIGORE at Wilton’s Music Hall



“A mixed bag, some ingredients working better than others. And the overall flavour is certainly enhanced in the magical surroundings of Wilton’s Music Hall.”


“Ruddigore” or “The Witch’s Curse” was originally spelled “Ruddygore”, but the title was changed because people (I’m guessing a small vocal minority) were offended by the use of the word ‘Ruddy’. And there we all were thinking that umbrage was a twenty-first century invention. Nevertheless, both Arthur Sullivan and William Gilbert were of the opinion that their ‘supernatural opera’ was not, perhaps, their finest hour. Despite a long hiatus – of over thirty years – between its premiere and its first revival, it has still managed to survive. Possibly the couple were too hard on themselves, for there is much to admire and savour in this madcap oddity of a comic opera.

It bears all the hall marks of the stock melodrama. The villain who carries off the maiden, the virtuous heroine, the hero in disguise, the snake in the grass, the wild and mad woman. And ghosts and their curses. It is certainly advisable to brush up on the basic plot before attending Peter Benedict’s current revival of the musical. The offbeat libretto isn’t only to blame – the delivery is often unclear, particularly during the ensemble moments and especially when Gilbert’s tricksy, ‘topsy-turvy’ lyrics launch into breakneck mode.

At the heart of the story is the curse of Ruddigore. Centuries before, the first Baronet of Ruddigore persecuted witches, one of whom placed the curse. All future Baronets must commit one crime every day, or die in agony. The current Baronet has faked his own death years before to avoid inheriting the curse, leaving his younger brother with the deadly burden. Returning to the scene under an alias he is soon rumbled. Well – with a posse of unemployed bridesmaids, loose-tongued confidants, long-lost brothers, and a love interest that re-defines the word ‘fickle’; what could possibly go wrong?

Joe Winter is charm personified as Robin Oakapple though really Ruthven Murgatroyd, the Baronet who has shirked his criminal responsibilities. It takes seconds for Madeline Robinson’s deliciously, innocent yet pragmatic Rose Maybud to fall for him. Seconds later she is betrothed to Robin’s long-lost, cocksure brother. When the other, younger brother appears and has his wrongfully placed curse lifted, Rose decides she’d actually prefer him as a husband. Yes – really! It is ridiculous, often funny, but could be much more fun if the pace were to keep up with the elements of farce surrounding the absurdity. There is an innovative, anachronistic opener which places the action in the present before being whisked into Victoriana, but bizarrely this is not followed through. Had it done so, the script’s rather abrupt ending could have been smoothed over.

It is a show of two halves. After interval, the tone darkens and allows for some technical trickery courtesy of video designer Tom Fitch. The spookiness is underplayed but the surrealism is cranked up somewhat, and the dead duet with the living. Musical Director Tom Noyes leads the musical accompaniment; an ensemble comprising some of the cast, a few click tracks and violinist Luca Kocsmárszky who plays on stage, perched on the fringe of the action, watching – and seemingly judging – throughout.

A mixed bag, some ingredients working better than others. And the overall flavour is certainly enhanced in the magical surroundings of Wilton’s Music Hall. You’re not quite sure what to expect. So, at least there aren’t expectations for it to live up to. Taken with a pinch of salt, there is plenty to enjoy and discover. It was written with tongue in cheek and, if viewed in the same way, it has great entertainment value. Not to mention the genius of Gilbert and Sullivan which informs this eccentric libretto and score.


Reviewed on 17th March 2023

by Jonathan Evans

Photography by Mark Senior



Previously reviewed at this venue:


Charlie and Stan | ★★★★★ | January 2023
A Dead Body In Taos | ★★★ | October 2022
Patience | ★★★★ | August 2022
Starcrossed | ★★★★ | June 2022
The Ballad of Maria Marten | ★★★½ | February 2022
The Child in the Snow | ★★★ | December 2021
Roots | ★★★★★ | October 2021


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[Title of Show]


Moors Bar

Title of Show

[ Title of Show ]

Moors Bar Theatre

Reviewed – 7th August 2019



“This play does carry a strong message, which director Eleanor Felton expertly highlights”


The Camden Fringe promotes itself as a chance to see edgy, experimental and brand new theatre. To be invited to see a show called [ title of show ] therefore didn’t raise much of an eyebrow, although I do wonder how many people bypass the play due to the ambiguity of the title. I however was intrigued and turned up with an open mind, an open notebook and a slightly puzzled expression on my face.

It turns out that this is the story of Jeff, Heidi, Hunter and Susan, writing a musical about Jeff, Heidi, Hunter and Susan. They give themselves three and a half weeks to write a script and submit it to a festival with the ultimate hope that it might be a hit and end up on Broadway. Not having a specific idea for a plot, they sit down to write the first things that come into their heads and to document for inclusion, all conversations that they hold.

The small, square stage was decorated by four simple, wooden chairs. These were well used and effortlessly moved around. The simple lighting was used to good effect.

An original idea for a script, a lot of the obvious gags were used early on and the dialogue did at times become a little repetitive, although many of the ‘under the breath’ quips were very nicely done particularly by Susan. Writing can be a tortuous, lonely task and watching people struggling for ideas to move their piece on, didn’t always make for the most compulsive viewing, despite us being told that ‘Writing should be as easy as a monkey driving a speedboat’!.

But this is a musical and any show from this genre will live or die by its musical numbers. Fortunately, the four strong cast (William Tippery, Charlotte Denton, Kieran Parrott and Alyssa LeClair) are all blessed with equally strong singing voices, the harmonies were a highlight and filled the room with the most gorgeous sounds, all under the expert accompaniment of Robert Hazle who was so skilled, that at times you never even noticed his on-point playing.

Highlights, were the opening number “No Title”, the delightful “Stuck In A Role Playing Me” the cleverly written and well delivered “Who Is Heidi, Who Is Susan” and the amusing “Unwanted Photo-Shoot”. Oddly, my only real issue with the music was the finale. A cracking, uplifting number was belted out and drew whoops and applause, only to be followed by a downbeat, final number which took the wind a little out of the sails.

The show ran out of steam a little in its final third, “I want to have substance. not fluff” one of the actors cried, a small amount of editing and a little more substance would in my opinion, help the show to roll along at a better pace.

I have to mention the ‘Relaxed Performance’ that this company are putting on this Friday afternoon for adults or young adults with autism or complex sensory needs. A lovely idea and I wish them every success with this venture.

This play does carry a strong message, which director Eleanor Felton expertly highlights. Be inspired to take a risk and do the thing that you’ve been wanting to do, do it for three weeks and then show somebody. You may have a gem?

Thank you Plan Z Theatre for an interesting evening, if anybody wants me, I’ll be available in three weeks time…


Reviewed by Chris White

Pictures by Joel M Photography


Camden Fringe

[ Title of Show ]

Moors Bar until 10th August as part of Camden Fringe 2019


Previous shows covered by this reviewer:
Citysong | ★★★★ | Soho Theatre | June 2019
Little Light | ★★★ | The Tower Theatre | June 2019
Feel The Love | ★★★★ | Chickenshed Theatre | July 2019
Parenthood | ★★★½ | The Space | July 2019

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