Treason The Musical

"Treason, because history class needed a soundtrack!"

Treason, because history class needed a soundtrack! This beautiful musical, with music and lyrics by Ricky Allan and a captivating book by Charli Eglinton, takes the audience on a melodic journey through the historical tale of the gunpowder plot.

Sam Ferriday shines in the role of Thomas Percy whom the narrative follows, with Gabriel Akamo, portraying Fawkes as a narrator spirit, piercing through the veil of the afterlife to guide us through the story. We are reminded of his limited time with us as we hear ticking clocks.

Under the direction of Hannah Chissick, the ensemble breathes life into the narrative, wearing seemingly period-appropriate undergarments, performing stylised choreography/mime that aids seamless scene transitions. While a subtle disconnect between the character parts and the ensemble, one might interpret the ensemble as ethereal spirits, adding an intriguing layer to the performance.

Without divulging too much, the mermaid song and dance sequence stands out as a comedic gem, cleverly referenced later in a darker yet equally amusing context. Oscar Conlon-Morrey impressively embraces the roles of Robert Cecil and an unnamed character, infusing a scheming villainy with the right amount of pomp and flair. His scenes with Joe McFadden as King James contribute significantly to the production's depth.

Emilie Louise Israel, though limited in her scenes as Anne Vaux, showcases an incredible voice that leaves audiences eager for more. Her talent hints at a promising future in upcoming productions.

"Treason" doubles as an educational piece, delving into the historical context of religious suppression. However, the gunpowder plot has a plot twist as we accelerate through time and key facts with the ticking clock, leading to a new ending where Fawkes and Percy swap bodies, adding an unexpected dimension to the story and a new ending where this body swapped character is burned at the stake.

The concluding call to monologue to ‘rise up and fight the power’ delivered by Fawkes as he meets a fiery end, brings a contemporary resonance into the narrative. However, the target of this call to action remains ambiguous, missing an opportunity to tie back to the Catholic suppression that forms the crux of the performance. A quick internet search suggests a potential connection to the persecution of Christianity in 2023, adding a layer of relevance to the overall message.

This show was reviewed on the 9th November.  Treason The Musical runs at the Alexandra Palace, London until the 18th November before heading to the London Palladium between the 21st-22nd November 2023.  Tickets available here: Treason The Musical

Review written by Valentine Gale-Sides

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Photo credit: Danny Kaan

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