This dramatic piece promises a lot in its synopsis: witchcraft, love, bloody battles, deceit, murder and a healthy dose of fire and brimstone. Unfortunately while there are glimpses of these themes they barely make an impression and are few and far in between.
The Covenanter has so much potential to be an enlightening theatrical piece about a significant period in Scotland’s history but unfortunately it just hasn’t translated well on to the stage.
The Covenanter is a historical musical by Carpe Diem Productions and is set in 1650 during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. However, apart from it being present in conversation between the characters, you would struggle to tell that this is meant to be an early modern period piece. The dialogue reads more contemporary than seventeenth century and the same can be said of the stage clothes worn.
For the most part, the narrative is frustratingly confused, lacking in cohesion and conveyed by performers that appear more comfortable reading a vocal score than a script. The character performances are, at best, below average and appear quite superficial. These non-singing parts of the story consist largely of one-on-one conversations between the characters and while these in isolation make sense, as a whole these moments never really come together.
This production’s only saving grace is the ensemble’s indisputable, exceptional vocal dexterity. With the exception of one cast member who perhaps was having an off day, vocally the cast are adept vocalists. It is no easy feat delivering a group performance that comes across as one voice yet the different vocal types and harmonies can still be distinctly heard - this ensemble does it effortlessly.
The Covenanter has so much potential to be an enlightening theatrical piece about a significant period in Scotland’s history but unfortunately it just hasn’t translated well on to the stage. While the production is far from polished, the cast’s vocal chords are so I would definitely recommend going to see them if they ever put on a vocal performance.