• By Jonathan
  • |
  • 17th Apr 2012
  • |
  • ★★★

The Mystery of Edwin Drood tells the unfinished tale of Charles Dickens’ last novel, however the ending in this instance is in the audience's hands. In an energetic Vaudevillian performance, the cast of hugely talented West End performers sing, dance, and clown around for our perpetual amusement. The quality of the choral moments within the show are phenomenal, you could be listening to a full West End ensemble instead of the thirteen performers in this skilled cast.

Although the Landor Theatre has some attributes of a Music Hall, the space, performance and set lacked somewhat in atmosphere, and for that reason you have to remind yourself often that it is a play within a play. The first act itself is repetitive and the formula is easily worked out, but director Matthew Gould and the company have done something really inventive with the piece. The dance numbers were slick and comic, and the audience interaction adds a great energy from the start, where a good old sing-song is mandatory (songsheets provided!)

There are strong performances from Victoria Farley as Rosa Budd and Loula Geater as Helena Landless, both of whom portray feisty females with beautiful voices, evident particularly in their duet in Act One. Wendi Peters, of Coronation Street fame, is fantastic as the lascivious Princess Puffer, oozing Victorian sexiness with brilliant comic timing.

The second Act is really where this piece comes to life, with a hilarious bidding war for who the audience think is the murderer and the detective; for anyone wishing to play along there is opportunity to close your eyes! After several comic twists and turns the murderer is revealed, but is a happy ending guaranteed every night with The Mystery of Edwin Drood?

A really enjoyable night, but be warned these performers are used to filling West End theatres and are at times loud, especially for those on the front row!

The Blurb

The Mystery of Edwin Drood is a thrilling and comical play within a play, originally based on the unfinished novel by Charles Dickens.  Full of intrigue and mystery, the story follows the exploits of the Theatre Royale Music Hall Company. Set against the backdrop of the Great British traditions of Music Hall and Pantomime, the Theatre Royale actors set about completing the story of Edwin Drood – with just a little help from the audience along the way. The Tony Award winning score is full of beautiful and evocative melodies, encapsulating the Victorian vaudevillian spirit of the show.