Director: Louise Denison
Writer: Andy Platt
Reviewer: David Doyle
Billed as the Yorkshire Les Miserables, No Horizon is a new musical from PCA about the extraordinary story of Yorkshireman Nicholas Saunderson. Having contracted smallpox as an infant, Nicholas grows up blind in Thurlstone in the 1680s. Before the invention of Braille, Saunderson’s prospects of education are next to none, something incredibly frustrating for a man of his intellect. The musical follows Saunderson as he journeys from his sleepy town to Cambridge University.
The musical shows incredible promise. It’s a fascinating true-life storyand has both a really interesting score as well as a very talented cast. However, the piece never quite lives up to expectation. The show’s book needs work to sharpen and hone the story in order to let the score shine. Too often the show relies on projected explanations of place or plot points in order to get its point across, something which the book ought to be able to do on its own.
The staging is also somewhat disappointing. Predictable choreography coupled with a projected scenic design that cheapens thepieceare evidence of the problems with the production. Despite this though there is something captivating about the show. The story, the music, and the performances are enough to make the show thoroughly enjoyable. The cast, in particular, is wonderfuland makes the show an aurally intoxicating pleasure.
The show relies heavily on presenting itself as a British Les Miserables, both in aesthetics and pacing but it has much more to offer than that. If it shakes off the shackles of comparisons to its French cousinand enters a period of further development to hone elements of the production, there’s every chance that you’ll see this show on a far larger stage in the near future.
Runs until 27 August 2016 (not 16)