A Hazard Theatre
Production Company Production
Directed by Mike McCormack
Adapted by Deborah McAndrew
Saturday 25th January 2014
Picture this, 19th Century Alsace, France, a cold, snowy Christmas Eve
night, a convivial inn and a dark secret. Everything you need for a ‘great
This Victorian melodrama served up a lively dish of comedy and music,
with plenty of playing for laughs, especially in the banter between Father
Walter, (Liam Murphy), and his drinking partner Hans, played by Chris
Tomlinson, whose drunken, romantic attempts after anything in a skirt
raised a few laughs. One of the objects of Hans’ romantic bungling
is Sozel, the maid at the inn, played by Isobel Balchin, who hammed it
up brilliantly and threw some awesomely mental looks, showing real potential
as a comic actress!
Through Father Walter and Hans we are introduced to the terrible secret
which is hanging over this remote little inn and the people who live there.
Counterpoised against this dark secret is the imminent wedding between
our young lovers, the inn keeper’s daughter, Annette, played by
Roisin Fletcher and her handsome local chief of police, Christian, (Jake
Norton). So the scene is set for a whodunit with all the classic ingredients.
Overall there was a lot to be said for this production, with a multi-faceted
cast that were thoroughly enjoying themselves, some lovely traditional
ensemble singing and a gripping dream sequence, however the one thing
missing was suspense. I would have liked a bit more of a mystery with
a few red herrings to keep me guessing, but maybe I’ve been spoilt
by all that modern Swedish crime drama and was expecting something a little
more complex. As a straightforward melodrama it worked quite well, but
it could definitely be improved with more in-depth characterisation and
more twists within the plot.