East Anglia’s dandy highwayman is the stuff of dreams
- Credit: Archant
Review: An Honest Gentleman, by Cordelia Spence and Tim Lane, Stuff of Dreams Theatre Company, on tour until May 24.
An Honest Gentleman is a light hearted and entertaining musical play that tells the story of Aylsham born Highwayman Thomas Easter.
The past may be a foreign country where things are done differently, however characters that live on the margins in the underworld of crime, from Robin Hood to the Krays, continue to hold endless fascination where reality and fantasy meet.
Cordelia Spence’s play tells a story that weaves facts with fiction to bring Thomas Easter back to life and give him his own leather breeches legend and family show that lands somewhere between The Wicked Lady and the irreverence of the Horrible Histories.
The son of a butcher, Thomas Easter (Quinn Richards) it seems, wasn’t born into a life of crime. So his motivation to leap from teenage tearaway into such a dangerous world remains a mystery throughout. His legend, then quickly becomes a very sweet love story when he comes across Lady Temperance (Hayley Evenett), who rather than marry wishes to join him in his life of crime. However, the stakes are raised and reality harshens when Dick Turpin turns up, performed with real menace by Geir Madland.
The three actors work together to create a strong ensemble, as narrators as well as the characters they play. There are some great interactions with the audience, asides and nods to modern day sensibilities that are a strength of show. Hayley Evenett, especially, has energy and committed purpose throughout, both as narrator and as the spirited and thoughtful Lady Temperance.
Tim Lane’s music and songs are beautifully atmospheric, creating a real link to the past and present, providing a pathos alongside the story telling that is a highlight of this enjoyable production.
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An Honest Gentleman is on tour and plays Ipswich Christchurch Mansion on May 3-4, The Cut, Halesworth, May 10, Corn Hall, Diss, May 18 and Fisher Theatre, Bungay, May 24.