By Tansy Adam
Lauren Brewer and Will Drake’s new original musical The Single Lady divulges into the untold personal life of Elizabeth I and explores her relationships with both her cousin Lettice Knollys and courtier Robert Dudley as well as her relationship with herself. This fresh historical perspective is accompanied by an equally innovative soundtrack, filled with witty wordplay and puns that frequently nodded to current popular culture. This aided in giving a production a timeless feel.
The casting should be commended as well as the writing with Flo Lunnon becoming the embodiment of her role as Elizabeth I perfectly. Lunnon shines, outstanding in her singing, which shone through especially in ‘crowning glory’ where she perfectly executed a number of demanding vocal runs. Her acting was equally outstanding as she created an accessible and relatable character.
Lunnon’s strong vocals are accompanied by the lighter sultry tones of Vivienne Shaw who is excellent in the role as Lettice Knollys, the queen’s love rival and best friend. Shaw additionally demonstrated outstanding vocal technique throughout the show, complete with a great range of vocal runs and sustained belting.
Sam Jones is casually cruel in his role as Robert Dudley and displayed an excellent range, but most notably in his acting, switching between seductive and harsh with ease. Completing the cast is Oscar Scott, who is assertive in his role and commands the stage as well as encouraging the gloriously camp humour of the performance.
The entire cast should be commended on their vocal talents, hitting the mark perfectly when singing alone and in harmony with each other.
Charlotte Beech’s tech was brilliant throughout, particularly the lighting, which mimicked the fun atmosphere of the show. There were a couple of technical issues relating to sound in the first act of the show though they were swiftly sorted out during the interval. Beech’s technical brilliance was perfectly paired with Anna Hayward’s set which was both historically accurate and innovative at the same time.
I found that in some of the more quick, rap-style parts of the show lyrics were lost, which is such a shame given their witty nature. I found this to be the only real hindrance of the show which was generally an extremely strong performance. I am excited to see what is to come from Brewer and Geraint in the future after this wonderful debut show.
Images credit: Pitch Productions, photograph by Jennifer Leigh