“Something fantastic will happen tonight”...
For most of the Caamora Theatre Company, the theatrical adventure of 'Alchemy' began long before the final production week at the Cheltenham Playhouse Theatre in September, 2013. The actors and actresses, the chorus and the band had attended regular rehearsals for almost a year before they eventually appeared under the spotlights on the Playhouse stage. I can confirm with certainty that long weeks of hard work paid off, and that the final result must have delighted even the most demanding connoisseur of thespian art.
If the UK premiere of Clive Nolan's previous musical, 'SHE', performed at the Cheltenham Playhouse in February 2012, could be justly considered enchanting, solid and professional, the Cheltenham production of 'Alchemy' exceeded its predecessor with the magnitude of the directorial vision as well as the actors' renditions. With more than 50 people in the production, the 4 shows (including two sell-out performances) provided the viewers with over two hours of top class entertainment.
I could not start this review with the name of anyone else but the writer, composer, choreographer (!) and actor cast in the role of the eminent Samuel King, Maestro Clive Nolan. The man of many talents, acclaimed rock keyboardist, and singer once again surprised us with his rendition of the role of Professor King which, compared to the Katowice Concert version in February, was much more dynamic. In Cheltenham, Clive succeeded in conveying the complexity and multidimensionality of the character in its entirety. Bravo to the subtle references to such masterpieces of musical theatre like 'Oliver' or 'Les Miserables'! Thanks to the most intelligent development of the character, Professor King was as credible, convincing and as noble as Jean Valjean and at times as cunning and comical as Fagin. Evidently, Clive must have enjoyed both the character himself as well as the process of creating King's theatrical impersonation. Hopefully, we will see Clive in many more theatre productions to come! What an exceptional talent!