"Absolutely Fantastic Loved This Show"
by Cheryl Rowlands for remotegoat on 27/10/19

“The Dolls of New Albion – A Steampunk Opera” is just what it says on the tin. It is a four-act musical written by Paul Shapera, and through the narration sung by “Kate” portrayed by Hayley Warner, it follows four generations of the McAllistair Family in the Victorian Steampunk city of New Albion. They are: Annabel McAllistair, (played by Kiera-Marie Somers), her son, Edgar (played by Liam Green), his son, Byron (played by Joe Shepherd), and last-generation family member, Priscilla McAllistair (again played by Kiera-Marie Somers). Liam Green also played the role of Soldier 7285.
A Doll, Jasper (played by Jordan Danells) features throughout and it is the constant meddling with the Dolls throughout the generations that leads to the eventual downfall of the city of New Albion. Jasper’s songs are sung by Director, Jamie Edmundson. Hazel Wilson played Fay, Edgar McAllister’s oppressed love, and Hannah Clift played Amelia.

The original was written with four cast members changing characters as the story progresses; Drama Llama had eight, and this worked to great effect.

What can I say about this production? I love steampunk, and I absolutely loved this show – so much so that I want to buy the official soundtrack. This is the first show I have seen by Drama Llama Productions who are a relatively new Company, and it did not disappoint. My daughter, Melissa, came along with me and she loved it too. The set was fabulous with an iron Victorian staircase leading to a small balcony platform which was used to great effect throughout the production. The show opened to lovely music and a rather macabre dance sequence. The beautiful songs of the soundtrack told the narrative.

Great choreography by Becci Edmundson. Sometimes it could have been a little tighter in its execution with the symmetry and spacing and at odd times some of the cast were slightly out of time and sync with the others, but there was energy, drama, dynamics and poise, and it was extremely effective throughout and thoroughly enjoyable to watch and the scenes flowed from one to the next in a natural progression.

Lovely costumes by Wardrobe Managers, Karen Gaynord and Becci Edmundson, and clearly a lot of hard work between cast and Production Team.

Beautiful, strong singing voices from all concerned with the Dolls' parts sung by Director Jamie Edmundson whilst Jordan Danells played the Dolls themselves.

Melissa's favourite cast member was Olly Brooks. She felt that, despite only being cast as “Ensemble”, his facial expressions and mannerisms were spot on and he had great stage presence. She commented that she was drawn to him every time he appeared.

My favourite characters were the Dolls. I loved the first scene where Annabel brought her "boyfriend" to life and subsequently killed him. The lighting and special effects by Ed-Monster Events were fantastic, including the stake burning and, always on the side of the Underdog, I am not ashamed to admit that I actually shed a few tears when Jasper Doll died.

All in all, it was a fabulous production - thoroughly enjoyable and I can't recommend it enough. Melissa and I attended at The Rondo Theatre, Bath on the Friday night and, so I am told, the cast received a standing ovation at the end of their performance the following evening – and deservedly so.

“The Dolls of New Albion – A Steampunk Opera” continues its run at various theatres in November. Check out Drama Llama’s official website for dates and venues.

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