The Ring of Stones

The Fringe may not be the most obvious place for epic musicals, but with a cast of twenty-two, Ring of Stones succeeds in being the exception that proves big shows can work. A tale of the brave villagers of Eyam who chose to selflessly quarantine themselves - ‘nobody in and nobody out’ - when plague struck in 1665, writers Eddie Brierly and Peter Robinson have crafted a mini Les Miserables for the fringe, replete with soaring ballads and a cast brimming with passion.

Gravedigger Marshall Howe (played with aplomb by Robinson himself) is a survivor of the plague, who recounts two summers of strife when the disease killed three-quarters of the village’s population in the mid-1660s. It’s not an easy story to make a song and dance about, but Breirly and Robinson’s music has some strong, memorable tunes and a warm heart, even if its electronic backing soundtrack did take away some of the charm. The energetic cast, whose ages range from 11 to 71, work wonderfully together, although choreography could have been snappier and solo pieces reveal the weaker singers in the group.

The script took some time to get going (the plague only hits about half-way through the show) and there were certain intriguing subplots that were picked up and quickly let go. Amongst them is a ideological rift between two ministers, the puritan Thomas Stanley and the unpopular but government-endorsed William Mompesson; this might have emerged as an intriguing philosophical discussion but is sadly put to one side early.

In many respects the show is a jumble of events, characters, and anecdotal stories. A love story is brought in, then discarded, and without a main character we’re left emotionally in the lurch. Towards the end, when another character succumbs to the plague, Marshall Howe cries out ‘what’s one more tragedy in this story?’ and we in the audience thought the same. Nevertheless, this is a fascinating story, with a great deal of heart and soul.

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

The Blurb

Inspiring and powerfully dramatic! The heart-rending, epic and heroic true events in a 17th-century English village returns. A 20-strong cast with full orchestral backing - this full-blown musical will blow you away! **** (FringeGuru.com / BroadwayBaby.com / EdinburghGuide.com).

Most Popular See More

Dear Evan Hansen

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mary Poppins

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Frozen the Musical

From £29.00

More Info

Find Tickets