The Scarlet Letter
This is a terrific show being performed on stage
for the first ever time at this year's Festival. It is a musical in
the mould of Les Miserables, but in many ways more accessible, and
often with better tunes. I saw the third ever performance on stage
of this work, and it is immediately clear that the potential of this
show should make it required viewing for any impresario.
The original work by Hawthorne has nothing like the melodramatic swoop
of events which perhaps make other works more obvious to adapt, but
the score, orchestration and pace of production make this work seem
shorter than its modest hour and a half.
I am still terrifically impressed by Marisa Mickel's restrained performance
of Hester. The modulation and range of her voice was always spot on,
and her expression of love for Dimmesdale was some of the most poignant
acting I have ever seen on stage with or without music.
Bearing in mind the inherent budgetary and environmental limitations
of the fringe, this staging with orchestra and a cast of twenty or
so is cracking value. If you can take an evening off from comedy this
year, do: I doubt you will see a better fringe show.
Friday, 10th August 2001