A Gentleman's Game

In this new musical, a piece which has flashes of The Picture of Dorian Gray crossed with psycho-dramatic elements of an Edgar Allen Poe ballad, a story of clandestine love, beauty and wealth is woven and dissected within the enclosed Edwardian drawing room that is the play's setting. Accompanied by a small period-style string orchestra, with woodwind and piano, the three-strong cast present this snapshot into the lives of the aristocracy by means of writer and director Jimi Mitchell’s book, and through the lyrics and original music of musical director Jay Cameron.

Worth seeing now and keeping an eye on in the future.

Alex Lyne as the central figure of Robert - a character who readily admits to falling in love with the beauty of a woman’s wealth thereby establishing his somewhat superficial nature - plays his part with sufficient withdrawal that we never truly warm to him, something which is required for the love triangle situation to work effectively. By contrast, Rosalind Ford’s portrayal of Rose is truthful and delicate in its strength. Hers is a thoroughly reliable and accomplished acting performance with vocals to match, meaning that we are entirely comfortable in her presence and fully sympathise with her position as a woman caught between being a daughter and a wife, with thoughts and dreams that are forced to remain internal.

From the beginning of this particular performance, the sound generated by the orchestra is somewhat too great for the performers’ voices to compete with. This does remain a feature of the piece, with lyrics and some lines of dialogue delivered during underscoring difficult to hear despite the close proximity of the audience. In terms of the piece’s writing, there are minor inconsistencies and moments of slight implausibility, with minor anachronistic modes of expression employed and radical emotional shifts featuring without the seemingly required build-up.

The device of Robert’s past encroaching on his present in the form of visions of his servant, Elizabeth (played by Gemma Campbell) works well in forwarding the narrative, and the vocal harmonies between Campbell, Lyne and Ford are regularly tightly achieved. In particular, the acting through song of Ford is a real strength of the piece, and reveals the quality of the lyrics. It must be said that there are no real stand-out songs in this musical, but they do generally work well when they appear. In an hour, perhaps the story is too big for full development to take place, but this is a piece with potential – it is worth seeing now and keeping an eye on in the future.

Reviews by Joshua Clarke

SpaceTriplex

A Gentleman's Game

★★★
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The Blurb

In this touching contemporary musical by Victor Cameron, a young couple struggle through pain, passion and past within the restrictions of their time and class in pre-war London. A beautifully anguished rendering of human psychology in love.

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