The Scarlet Pimpernel

Book & Lyrics by Nan Knighton
Music by Frank Wildhorn

Based on the novel “The Scarlet Pimpernel” by Baroness Orczy

Barn Theatre, Oxted, Surrey
Monday 25th June to Saturday 30th June 2007

Minack Theatre on the cliffs at Porthcurno.
Monday 27th to Friday 31st August 2007

Based on Baroness Orczy’s ever-popular story of love, deception and intrigue, ‘The Scarlet Pimpernel’ is set in 1794 at the height of the French Revolution.

It tells the classic tale of an English aristocrat, Sir Percy Blakeney, who is secretly the Scarlet Pimpernel, and who with his loyal band of followers make repeated daring trips to France to save would-be victims from the very scaffolding of the guillotine.

This is an exhilarating adventure with a lavish musical score, hilarious libretto, glittering costumes and spectacular sword fights. Unforgettable entertainment for the whole family.

The Scarlet Pimpernel was produced by Richard Allen. Paul Longhurst once again joined us as Director, and Colin Warnock joined us for the first time as Musical Director. Our Choreographer was Fran Newitt and Assistant Director was Cathy Longhurst. Fight Direction was by Neil Reynolds.

As with all previous Minack tours, the technical team was headed up by Bruce Reed (Technical Director) and our Stage Manager was Malcolm Le Croissette. Our Production & Set Designer was once again Jill ‘Wigs’ Wilson.

The production team were delighted to welcome members of Redruth Amateur Operatic Society Trust, who joined our Barn Theatre cast when the production moved down to the Minack Theatre.

Photos

Video

Credits

Production Team
Cast
Orchestra
Reviews
Production Team

Producer:  Richard Allen

Director:  Paul Longhurst

Musical Director:  Colin Warnock

Assistant Director:  Cathy Longhurst

Choreographer:  Fran Reynolds

Fight Director:  Neil Reynolds

Technical Director:  Bruce Reed

Stage Manager:  Malcolm Le Croissette

Assistant Stage Manager:  Phil Littleford

Production & Set Designer:  Jill 'Wigs' Wilson

Wardrobe Mistresses:  Elizabeth Skinner, Monica Mickels & Cathy Longhurst

Lighting Designer:  Carolyn Rowley

Sound Technician:  James McLeod

Props Supervisors:  John & Sheila Bennett

Wig Mistress:  Neila Dawes

Hairdresser:  Sharon Dawes

Prompt:  Stella Thomas

Cast

Sir Percy Blakeney:  Andy Lingfield

Chauvelin:  James Klech

Marguerite St Just:  Kristin Callaway

Marie Grosholtz:  Cathy Longhurst

Armand St Just:  Paul Grace

Ben:  Dave Lugg

Dewhurst:  Kevin Wood

Elton:  Mark Wakeford

Farleigh:  Bob Wilson

Hal:  Richard Allen

Ozzy:  Peter French

Robespierre:  Chris Chaplin

The Prince of Wales:  John Harris

Jessup:  Philip Laughton

Mercier:  Anthony Grace / Graham Powell

Coupeau:  Guy Hudson

Tussaud:  Chris Bassett

The Marquis de St Cyr:  Richard Allen

Pastor / Sentry:  Bruce Reed

 

Dancers:  Lorin La Fave - Cathy Longhurst - Catherine Osborne - Amelia Simmons - Elizabeth Skinner - Fiona Steel - Carly Thompson

 

Ensemble:  Lynda Barrett - Katie Burns - Sahraon Dawes - Mark Edwards - Roger Fane - Stephanie Hornett - Carol Isham - Nick Jeffrey - Lorin La Fave - Philip Laughton - James McBride - Catherine Osborne - Julia Nash - Alsion Redford - Amelia Simmons - Elizabeth Skinner - Fiona Steel - Carly Thompson - Catherine Wyncoll - Rock Vetriano - Dan Woods

 

Members of 'Redruth Amateur Operatic Society Trust' (at the Minack Theatre) Christine Arthur - Darren Ball - Pam Buckton - Sarah Howe - Sonia Mead - Pat Nettle - Garryck Noble - Clare Vincent - Marina Williams

Orchestra

Conductor:  Colin Warnock

 

Woodwind 1:  Nick Charles

Woodwind 2:  Sue Busby

Woodwind 3:  Paul Summers

Woodwind 4:  Tanya Weeks

Trumpet 1:  Graham Wright

Trumpet 2 (Barn):  Jim Marshall

Trumpet 2 (Minack):  George Boote

Trombone 1:  Richard Pywell

Trombone 2:  Don Logie

Horn 1:  Susie Walker

Horn 2:  Kate Goldsmith

Percussion 1:  Stephen Whittaker

Percussion 2:  Mike Baker

Keyboard 1:  Colin Warnock

Keyboard 2:  Patrick Isbell

Bass:  Andrew Laing

Reviews

Phillipa Rushby - Surrey Mirror - July 2007

 

Set in Paris and London during 1794, the familiar tale of the secret English hero, Sir Percy Blakeney and his merry band of supporters, has been wonderfully adapted for musical stage by Nan Knighton (lyrics) and Frank Wildhorn (music).

This is a demanding production for many reasons; most notably the vocal quality required to deliver the numbers, the numerous sets and the costuming necessary to create the opulence of the period.

The Barnstormers have evidently enjoyed putting this production together - their enthusiasm was obvious and infectious. Their powerful opening chorus number quickly gained the audience's support with super choreography and a big visual impact.

Andy Lingfield, playing Sir Percy Blakeney (the Pimpernel), was wonderfully adaptable, combining foppishness with sincerity and sang with great clarity and emotion - a very controlled performance of a complex role. Along with his henchmen, he was certainly able "to convince the whole of England that we're nincompoops". Kristen Callaway, as Marguerite St Just, (Percy's wife) was equally impressive with her vocal quality and clearly showed the pain she felt due to her husband's neglect. She sounded especially good in When I Look at You and the You Are My Home duet with Percy was quite lovely.

There were no weak links in this production - the attention to characterization was excellent. James Klech as the evil Chauvelin particularly, held his poise throughout and was the perfect villain with a great voice.

The large cast coped extremely well with not having their musical director in front of them - the band was located backstage and actors relied upon TV monitors for their cues. The multiple scene changes that could have been problematic had been well designed. The slick changes were subtle with scenery flown in, minimal furnishings used to keep the stage relatively clear for movement and excellent lighting to denote areas. Excellent stage management.

The opening of Act II deserved its applause. The costuming, complete with wigs and accessories, was quite superb. Coordinating beautifully, and creating such a feeling of splendour and opulence, summarised the high standards set by the design team for every aspect of the production. I could quite happily have sat through every night of the run and found new things to marvel at each time.

Director, Paul Longhurst will no doubt be eager to see how his production will translate onto the stage at The Minack Theatre, Cornwall at the end of August - best wishes for another successful run.

 

Frank Ruhrmund - The Cornishman - August 2007 - 'A Perfect Pimpernel'

 

With the help of fair weather, a full moon, a huge bank holiday audience begging to be amused and baying for heads to roll, colourful costumes, a wealth of wigs - so many the company even has a wig mistress to account for them - and a live band, The Barnstormers lived up to their name with their musical The Scarlet Pimpernel. It was, as promised, unforgettable entertainment.

The only thing preventing it, at least for someone as squeamish as myself, from also being the claimed "perfect family adventure" was the rpesence of the gory Madame Guillotine, which really did make heads roll and in an all too convincing way, making ghouls of us all.

It is based on Baroness Orczy's early 20th Century swashbuckling novel of the absurd adventures of and even more absurd band of English aristocrats, The League of the Pimpernel, during the French Revolution.

The book and lyrics are by Nan Knighton, with music by Frank Wildhord, and it is directed by Paul Longhurst, who goes all out for the romance and comedy of the piece. It is as lively and likeable a Boy's Own night out - but for the ever present marrow slicer - as it is ludicrous.

Thanks to Colin Warnock, it is easy on the ear and, all credit to choreographer Fran Reynolds and aptly-named production and set designer Jill 'Wigs' Wilson, equally easy on the eye. A word too for fight director Neil Reynolds who gives us one of the most delightful duels I've seen on this stage.

The large cast, whether aristocrats or citizens, dancers or prisoners, soldiers of tarts, and whether from Oxted of Redruth, give it all they've got and are splendid, while the triangle of lovers around whom the plot revolves are superb. Kristin Callaway is the bilingual and bewitching Marguerite St Just who, one fells, despite her name, wouldn't know a tin mine from a tumbril. James Lech is the sanguinary Chauvelin, who probably has his own customised tumbril at home. Andy Lingfield is the breathtaking, seemingly languid, elusive and much sought-after leader of the league, Sir Percy Blakeney, and just about steals the show.

It may all be happening during the Reign of Terror but, as someone says, it is done and, from frou-frou to fireworks, this Scarlet Pimpernel is done to a T.

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