Who doesn't remember remember the gunpowder plot of 1605? Such a legendary moment in British history is now the subject of a brand new musical in the shape of Treason. The show has been dropping teases with songs from it streaming over the past year - now, for the first time, it is ready to hit the stage in this new concert production.
Filmed at the gorgeous Cadogan Hall, Treason assembles some of the biggest and best names in musical theatre to tell the story of the Plotters and the Peacekeepers. If you are expecting Guy Fawkes to be a big part of this, Treason is not as predictable as that. Guy gets a mention but is never seen on stage. Instead this focuses on the other characters involved.
Presented in the form of a semi-staged concert, Treason is very much still a work in progress. The 50 minute show sees the cast perform numbers from the show while Debris Stevenson as the narrator pieces together the plot through gorgeous rhyming dialogue. She does a great job of painting the picture - while there may not be props, effects or set changes, it is down to the audience to use our imaginations and we are given the tools we need to do this successfully.
For the cast, a supergroup have been assembled. Leading ladies and leading men have been plucked from the huge West End shows they will be returning to shortly for this one night only spectacular - and what a cast it is! The peacekeepers are played by Lucie Jones, Rebecca LaChance and Sharon Rose - all exceptional talents with though a special mention must go to the incredible Lucie Jones delivering a standout performance as Martha Percy. Her talent, stage presence and remarkable voice allow her to bring a real authenticity to the role.
The plotters are played by some real theatre heavyweights in the shape of Oliver Tompsett, Bradley Jaden, Waylon Jacobs and Emmanuel Kojo. They each get moments to shine collectively and in their own right, complementing eachother perfectly while ensuring the focus is solely on them when it needs to be. Tompsett and Jaden in particular prove why they are such reliable leading men in their current shows of &Juliet and Les Miserables respectively, delivering powerhouse performances.
While it seems unfair to draw similarities to other shows, there is no denying an influence from Hamilton present throughout the concert. None more so than Daniel Boys standout performance as King James, definitely in part inspired from the portrayal of King George in Hamilton. His big number, full of comedy and innuendo is one of the highlights of the concert. The cast is completed by the always wonderful Cedric Neal as The Earl. Cedric oozes charisma and can nail any role he is given, no matter how versatile or complex. He does this again in Treason with no problem, ensuring all eyes are on him when he is on that stage.
Even though they are social distanced, the cast play off eachother beautifully - showcasing wonderful chemistry and ensuring they are always interacting with eachother verbally if not physically.
A good cast is nothing without some great material to sink their teeth into. While this incredible lot could sing the phone book and doubtlessly receive a standing ovation, luckily the material on hand allows them to play to their strengths and really have fun with it. With music and lyrics from Ricky Allan, the songs are quite simply stunning - consistently good with a nod to folk at times, they often have a classic feel to them. Standout numbers include Lucie Jones and Bradley Jaden (soon to be performing in Les Miserables together) dueting on the incredible 'Blind Faith' while Oliver Tompsett gets a big solo moment in 'The Cold, Hard Ground'.
As a concert production, this was one of the strongest I've seen. Beautifully filmed with gorgeous lighting and flawless camerawork - all the elements were there to ensure this was a well put together piece of online theatre. Treason as a show has a LOT of potential. While it might not be completely there yet, there is a brilliant show in here that could be huge - you will hear the phrase "The British Hamilton" and with good reason as this could be a sensation. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next with Treason as its future is bound to be explosive.
Treason streams on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th March with tickets from treasonthemusical.com/book-tickets.php