When Charles Dickens died, he left behind a plethora of iconic novels. Many of us will of course know A Christmas Carol and Oliver Twist, however not many will know that up until his death Dickens was working on his latest story: The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Unfortunately, we will never know the intended ending but… we can always guess!
perfectly arranged choreography, harmonies and musical numbers.
Makeway for SEDOS (Stock Exchange Dramatic and Operatic Society), founded in 1905 with the intention of showcasing the variety of stage talent and musicianship that was seen scattered around the stock exchange house of that time. The established operatic society brings us to nineteenth century England, Cloisterham, where on a stormy evening Edwin Drood (portrayed by the marvellous Kate Gledhill) vanishes without a trace - leaving all who knew Drood suspects in his suspicious disappearance.
There are several suspects to this game of cat and mouse ranging from Drood’s love interest Rosa Bud (Jessie Davidson) to the town reverend (Sam Sugarman). No one is safe from the clutches of the inspector. The most exciting part of this show is that we, the audience, decide the fate of both what happened to Edwin Drood and who the culprit was. Yes, You read that right. For the evening, we take over paper and quill to finish the novel on behalf of Dickens. A bold move within this musical which plays out to everyone’s surprise - including the cast!
With elements from classic Carry On movies, pantomime-esque behaviour and some modern day Flea Bag, The Mystery of Edwin Drood effectively breaks down the fourth wall with humorous accolades and slapstick comedy. However, with this element it sometimes added confusion to the goings-on and sometimes left me in a daze as I was trying to keep up. Nevertheless, the cast continued to impressively forward the story with perfectly arranged choreography, harmonies and musical numbers.
Special mention must be given to Tess Robinson (Princess Puffer) who enthralled the audience with her comedic skills along with her incredible vocal abilities. Duetting alongside Drood (Kate Gledhill) in the second act is definitely something I won’t forget about in a long time. The two performers really were made for the stage and I could honestly say that they deserve to walk into an audition room and get any part they audition for. Another amazing driver of the show was Mark Smith (Chairman), the MC of the evening who professionally moved the story along from pillar to post even if it felt like we were not sure what was going on. Smith brought us to the nineteenth century with such grace and style that there is not a fault to list. Finally, we must give thanks to the musicians of the evening who battled through the ever changing musical styles and tones throughout the musical. They really brought out the essence of the show and deserve the utmost from all who come to see.
I believe The Mystery of Edwin Drood to be an interesting show - one that could go either way when performed in front of an audience. SEDOS effectively convey the light and humorous whilst juxtaposing the dark and cynical overlooming mystery and should be commended for visionary thinking and for breaking the mould.