After seeing Notion Theatre Company’s first production (Edges, Landor Theatre) earlier this year, I was quite excited when they announced their second production, the UK premiere of Nevermore. Nevermore is based on the work of Edgar Allen Poe with music by Matt Conner and a book by Grace Barnes. It cleverly interweaves his poems and short stories with his life to a haunting and dark tale of obsession.
I didn’t really know anything about the musical, but right from the start I was sucked into the atmosphere of Poe’s dark world. The songs fit this musical (and Poe’s poems) perfectly. They are truly haunting and beautiful, and in a strange way, exciting.
The cast was excellent throughout. Adam Bayjou (Edgar) more than held his own in an otherwise completely female cast, great voice and acting. To My Mother was beautiful. He was completely believable as the troubled poet. I loved Joanna Kirkland’s (Mother) voice. Erica Birtles was very sweet as Virginia. She really brought across the innocence and naivety of a young girl. Kimberley Newell’s (Whore) voice was stunning, especially her Eldorado and Dreams. Ambra Caserotti was great as Muddy, loved her in Annabel Lee as well as her scenes with Edgar. Anna Simmons as Elmira was very strong, she has a lovely voice. Her duet, Fairyland, with Edgar, was beautiful.
Amanda Black, Gabriella Flowers, Bethan Foresy, Rebecca Hickey, Kay Victoria Hindmarsh, Katie McHardy and Tanya Stephens as Village Women were great, too. They added a lot to the atmosphere of the musical and when they all sang at the same time/joined in it was amazing, e.g. the reprise of Eldorado, To My Mother, Silence and Annabel Lee. My favourite song was the last one, Dreams. It sounds like a cliché, but it really sent shivers down my spine.
I was surprised at how big the stage at the Courtyard Theatre is (compared to other fringe venues obviously), but they used the space very effectively and I really liked the choreography by Ellie Rutherford and the lightning (Tom Cooper). It all just works together perfectly.
Nevermore only runs until the 23rd October at the Courtyard Theatre. I’d highly recommend this production to everyone. It is very intense, but I enjoyed every minute of it. It’s an exciting new musical with an excellent, young cast (and one of the strongest I’ve seen in any fringe production). There are so many talented performers out there and I’m glad that Notion Theatre Company gives some of them a chance to shine and they definitely do.
I have seen many great fringe production in the past year, but Nevermore is up there with the best of them, so go and see it while you can!