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Official review on
(online version of The Scotsman : Scotlandís national paper)

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.

Jonathan Wilson
Friday, 10th August 2001

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