REVIEW | TREASON THE MUSICAL - SHEFFIELD LYCEUM
AD | Tickets Gifted in return for an honest review
TW / CW: Hanging, Miscarriage, Murder, Torture, Death, Persecution & Drowning
Haze Flashing lights (not heavy strobe) at the end of Act 1 and start of Act 2.
Remember, remember the 5th of November…or in this case 31st of October the day I saw the World Premiere of the first fully staged production of Treason The Musical at the Sheffield Lyceum Theatre.
After a concert version of the show at the London Palladium, Treason The Musical is now fully staged! Centring around the famous gunpowder plot Treason The Musical tells the story of how the idea came about and the historical reasons why it was planned and not only was about Guy Fawkes, but about the others who were involved. The show deals with themes of miscarriage, torture, death and persecution.
My Initial thoughts going into the show was that we have seen history being made into musicals before and I wondered how this will be different and to also see how the fully staged production will be presented after the concert production.
Treason The Musical runs at 2 hours and 30 minutes including one interval. Like always, my reviews are 100% honest and I will always justify my ratings, thoughts and feelings, always giving constructive feedback and my opinions are my own.
Directed by Hannah Chrissick, Hannah brings really good connections between characters, Hannah directs the show well and gives us something to focus on all the time in each scene. Hannah's directing style really fits the whole show well and it feels natural to the production. A moment done well was when Martha, played by Nicole Raquel Dennis, was searching for Thomas played by Sam Ferriday. Hannah’s directing made the scene feel busier then it looked. This was due to the way it was directed, having the ensemble quite close and having Nicole guide through them made it feel like Martha was in busy streets.
The ensemble brings it together as at least two or three ensemble were in scenes in the background technically listening and watching to what others was saying, it is stated at the start by the ensemble they will be sort of the eyes of the events and to me it was metaphor of the ensemble being the eyes of history and Guy Fawkes. Hannah’s directing is great to see play out on stage, overall Hannah seemed to know what the show needed to bring the era to the stage in a 21st century way.
With a book by Charli Eglinton and with Kieran Lynn, Charli’s book felt somewhat confusing. Some of the characters could have potentially needed more context as some of the characters were a part of the plot and I just wanted a little more about some characters to understand their involvement. I do think the show kind of targets an old demographic audience more then a younger one and I feel that the older side of the audience enjoyed it more then the younger side, as also some of the dialogue was a little confusing to understand this was mainly through the moments of when Guy Fawkes was on stage who narrates the story, to when it switched into a scene after Fawkes’s dialogue, it took me a little while to understand the scene.
There is some really sweet moments throughout the show from Nicole and Sam showing the characters relationship and both of showing this idea of what kind of country they want for their unborn to be brought up and live in and then some great moments with Joe McFadden and Oscar Conlon-Morrey showing the monarchy well. Some bit’s I enjoyed and were engaged but at times it felt it lacked. The script does need more work to make the show understable for the younger audience members.
With music and Lyrics By Ricky Allan with additional lyrics by Debris Stevenson the show's score is a folk stroke pop style with also some rap, the songs are quite good with ballads and duets throughout, I think the score and the songs are really good and lyrically they are pleasing and engaging enough for the story. You can see the ideas and inspiration from other historical and contemporary musicals the songs really are well written and you can tell the styles and feelings are right of each character Ricky knew what the songs needed to be like to fit the show.
I would like to say a massive well done to the whole of the cast. The show is performed so well by all and with technical difficulties and a show stop the cast handled it brilliantly and carried on like true performers.
Nicole Raquel Dennis played Martha Percy, Nicole puts heart and soul into the performance showing the ideal determination of getting change and heartbreak of realisation of what Martha has instigated really well. Nicole connects with close characters to Martha effectively, Nicole’s vocals were truly amazing and the lyrics were effortlessly delivered, we see Nicole characterisation skills clearly throughout, but also see a good performance throughout.
Sam Ferriday played Thomas Percy, Sam’s character was really good throughout, you could see the thought process of the character been shown throughout by Sam, with outstanding vocals Sam uses acting through song showing Thomas’s feelings at that time within the story of the show nicely and both Sam and Nicole work together to bring Thomas and Martha’s relationship really well.
Joe McFaddan plays King James, Joe clearly shows the status of the character and was able to show this very clearly, when Joe’s Character was delivering lines like speeches you could see the objectives and the methods being used to achieve the goal of the character. Joe knew how to play this role effectively and knew the place of the character. Joe’s performance was Brilliant and natural throughout.
The cast came together to bring treason to life and to the best of their ability and skills, they collectively presented the show really well as they pulled together as one whole group telling a story of the past in a modern way.
Taylor Walker is the show's Choreographer, Taylor's Choreography was different to how I thought this show's choreography would be, it was very contemporary and had a mixture of rigid and fluid movements. It seemed like a different style all together and it felt original, you could see the originality within it.
Lighting by Jason Taylor, Jason’s atmospheric lighting design really brought the mood of the darkness with a lot of dark blues. You can see Jason thought of what colour would be best associated with this show.
Set and costume design by Philip Witcomb, Philip gives us period costumes that are right for the time and a set that has movable flats and sliding doors to open up to a balcony. I think the costumes showed the characters clearly and the set did a great job of being movable to transform to different locations.
If you are thinking that you're seeing a show about Guy Fawkes, Treason doesn't do that. What you get is a story about, not just about the famous figure in history who narrates his own story through moments of rap but shows us the real historical reasoning's and why’s of how it all came about, and the others who joined him. Fawkes takes a step back and lets the other plotters lead on to tell us the historical events before us. This is what makes Treason different and unique to other historical musicals.
Treason The Musical, is about British history told with different styles of music. you can see where the inspiration for all the elements came from. Taking little things from other historical musicals, you can tell Treason tries and wants to be original in its own way, the music works with the show as well as the choreography and I think Treason does well on what it has to offer (a story about the gunpowder plot). It leaves you feeling you have learnt more than you did know before. The cast do a great job of bringing it to life it has potential to be great and I really anticipated this show but, unfortunately it just didn’t hit the mark with me as I thought it would have.
Treason The Musical plays at the Sheffield Lyceum until Saturday 4th of November https://www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk/events/treason-the-musical