Review: The Scarlet Pimpernel @ Lichfield Garrick

I love most musicals – the old ones and the more modern ones – but what a pleasure to see something different at the Garrick this week.

Lichfield Operatic Society is presenting The Scarlet Pimpernel which, in the words of the President, Pam Finnigan, is a ‘history lesson set to music’.

The show – like the Pimpernel – has two faces: the dark Revolution with the ever-present gruesome guillotine and the extremely amusing antics of the Pimpernel’s band of bounders.

The Scarlet Pimpernel

The Scarlet Pimpernel

The contrast in styles was impeccably led by Jordan Adams as Sir Percy Blakeney, the Scarlet Pimpernel. This, for me was Jordan’s finest performance to date. He blended the serious Blakeney with his foppish cover for the Pimpernel with seamless ease.

The ‘camped-up’ scenes featuring Blakeney and his Bounders were just hilarious.

The antics of the Bounders – James Pugh, Eoin Edwards, Craig Allen, Dan Ankertell and Tim Berriman – had to be seen to be believed. With Jordan, the five produced some of the most memorable scenes in the show.

But it’s not all a big laugh. My favourite song from the show was Into the Fire – the revolutionary fighting song. Definite shades of Les Mis here!

It was good to see Jo Edwards back on stage as Marguerite St Just (Lady Blakeney). Outstanding acting and vibrant vocals showed just how talented this lady is.

I also enjoyed Pete Beck as Chauvelin, the fanatical agent of the French republican revolutionaries. A powerful singing voice and impressive stage presence.

And in his second appearance for LOS, Michael Manser, as Marguerite’s brother Armand, more than proved he’d had good grounding in his years with the Lichfield Garrick Youth Theatre. A great singing voice.

There are too many in the cast to mention names, but the show featured wonderful performances from the ensemble.

Production Director Lynne Hill, Musical Director Ruairi Edwards and Choreographer Sophie Randal are to be congratulated, as are the stage crew for their slick scene changes.

Lichfield Costume Hire and members and friends of the society put together some spectacularly lavish costumes which enriched every scene.

The Scarlet Pimpernel runs at the Garrick until tomorrow (May 3), including a matinee. It’s well worth getting tickets if you like something different in the way of musical theatre.

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