MusicalNorth East & YorkshireReview

Treason the Musical – Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield

Reviewer: Jacob Bush

Music and Lyrics: Ricky Allen

Book: Charli Eglinton and Kieran Lynn

Additional Lyrics: Debris Stevenson and Kieran Lynn

Director: Hannah Chissick

In only its second week of its first ever fully staged production, Treason the Musicalattempts to set the Lyceum Theatre in Sheffield alight. The new musical tells the true story behind the famous “Remember, remember the 5th of November” rhyme, shining the light on the people who were really behind the Gunpowder Plot – Guy Fawkes wasn’t actually that much of a key player. The production has some fantastic elements, but they don’t necessarily all come together in what feels like a fully cohesive production.

The book by Charli Eglinton, with support from Kieran Lynn, is wonderful with some fantastic scenes to really enable our cast of characters to develop believable relationships. The show is fairly well paced, building a suitable amount of tension at a good pace despite the fact we all know, or at least think we know, what’s coming at the climax. Ricky Allen’s music and lyrics has some nice moments but struggles to carve out a clear identity for the show. At times, it feels like it’s trying to be a quirky version ofHamiltonand at other times it feels more classic musical theatre. Choosing a lane and sticking in it could have helped the production.

Hannah Chissick directs the musical well, utilising the space very well. Philip Witcomb’s costumes are gorgeous and his set, although simple, shows the numerous locations excellently. Jason Taylor’s lighting design is wonderfully atmospheric. Taylor Walker’s choreography really shines in the show, but your reviewer would have liked to see it spotlighted more rather than being done in the background. Walker has a very unique and somewhat abstract style to his choreography and seeing this committed to in other areas of the production could have been good. The musical does seem to lack big company numbers and in some of the ones that we do get, the action is very stationary.

Harry Blumenau has assembled a strong cast to bring to life this story. Leading the cast are powerhouse performers Sam Ferriday as Thomas Percy and Nicole Raquel Dennis as Martha Percy. Both are outstanding vocalists and bring to life their characters’ arcs magnificently. They have a beautiful chemistry, leading to later moments of the show being moving.

Joe McFadden is perfectly cast as the somewhat egotistical King James. He has a strong singing voice and a great stage presence. His moments are some of the highlights of the show. Other highlights of the show come from Oscar Conlon-Morrey as Robert Cecil. He counterbalances McFadden perfectly, bringing an ideal amount of villainy to the proceedings. It’s a shame Conlon-Morrey doesn’t get more to do, but his one musical number is enjoyable and he makes the most of every second he has on stage.

Other strong supporting performances come from Emilie Louise Israel as Anne Vaux and Connor Jones as Robert Catesby. Jones is spot on as the manipulative political activist, a character that feels quite familiar in today’s world, and also delivers a strong vocal performance. Israel is also wonderful vocally and she brings real heart to the proceedings. Her rapport with Dennis is beautiful and heart-warming.

WhilstTreason the Musicalhas plenty of room for improvement, there are things to be enjoyed and it is genuinely quite educational. This reviewer looks forward to seeing how the piece develops into the future.

Runs until 4th November 2023.

The Reviews Hub Score

Educational with potential

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The Reviews Hub - Yorkshire & North East

The Yorkshire & North East team is under the editorship of Jacob Bush. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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