Concept Players present The Mystery Of Edwin Drood


A Musical By Rupert Holmes


Our director, Richard, saw this show in a professional production in London a few years ago and came back to Wales excited as he thought this would be right up our street. And he couldn't have been more right!

Although an accomplished director with other societies, Richard had never directed Concept though he has been our main choreographer for many of our recent productions. So this was to be his Concept directorial debut and he did us proud. From the very outset he was organised and was clear on his vision for this difficult show. He conveyed his ideas well and the result was a well polished production with fabulous costume and set.

Performances were very good with a cracking front line which sparkled with talent. We welcomed a few new members to this show and they fitted into our Concept family well.

Ellie Hoare was the eponymous Edwin Drood and, as this was a play within a play (with the Musical Hall Royale Troop performing this new, though unfinished, work of Charles Dickens), Ellie also had to portray her acting persona Alice Nutting too. So all the cast had two parts each and had to show the difference which they relished. Lewis Cook was the lothario thesp Clive Paget who then played Edwin's wicked uncle, Jasper. His wonderfully polished voice and acting were to the fore as he twiddled his moustache with melodramatic zeal (all we needed was Penelope Pitstop!). Cat Bartley was the porcelain doll Rosa, Edwin's love interest and Helen Rose played the purveyor of opium Princess Puffer - her chesticles and dirty laugh were unforgettable! The mysterious and sultry Helena Landless was played with wonderful comic timing by Claire Couldridge whilst her sinister twin was played by James Osborne to great effect. The seemingly innocent Reverend Crisparkle was portrayed convincing by Keith Ingram so much so that he was voted the murder more than any other actor. Chris Powell, one of our new members, played the underrated Bazzard and won the sympathy of the audience demonstrated by him being voted every night bar one as the detective Dick Datchery.

The director played the rather warty Nick Cricker/ Durdles, the grave digger, and was ably assisted by Jo Fowler as his daughter/sidekick. The whole evening was under the direction on stage of Paul Buckle as Mr Cartwright, the Chairman of The Music Hall Royale. A huge role for anyone, but Paul tackled it with his usual cheeky charm. Throw into this melange a cast of Victorian actors as townspeople it was all in all a fabulous fun production onstage and off.

The band were led by our musical director Dave Thompson who kept us in order whilst our sound was under the ever watchful Laura. Lighting was designed by Kevin whilst the spotlight was wielded by the Liz. Backstage Roger kept us all in check and the producers and wardrobe team made sure it all looked incredibly professional and period. We were particularly proud the the lovely additional proscenium and the hand painted backcloths which were painstaking painted by Liz and Jess.

This show does not stop for breath and, with a myriad of different endings, our cast worked hard to get votes. Nothing was ever rigged; each night the audience chose their villain, detective and love interests. All the principals at one point got votes for one of those roles which was nice, though it was a shame we didn't get to see all the murderers. With good houses and rave reviews, as well as a 2015 Nomination in the Wales and Ireland NODA Award District 4 Best Stage Technical category, this really was a great show.


It was not only a murderer each night that was chosen, but a love interest too - here the mysterious Helena Landless is being wooed by the young Deputy.


The detective Dick Datchery was chosen by the audience too and every evening, bar one, Chris as Mr Bazzard got the votes.


Though the obvious suspect, John Jasper was never chosen by the voting public as the murderer but came close on the love interest!