Big­otry, set to beau­ti­ful mu­sic

The Jewish Chronicle - - Theatre -

The Vault, South­wark Play­house, Lon­don SE1

LON­DON GOT its first Pa­rade in 2007 when Ja­son Robert Brown’s and Al­fred Uhry’s hard-hit­ting mu­si­cal, full of South­ern man­ners and Ge­or­gia an­ti­semitism, was staged at the Don­mar. The true story at the show’s core con­cerns the 1913 trial of Leo Frank, a Brook­lyn Jew wrongly con­victed by an Atlanta jury of mur­der­ing a 13-year-old girl. But the re­la­tion­ship at its heart is be­tween two very dif­fer­ent kinds of Jew — the neb­bish Leo (Alas­tair Brook­shaw) and his wife, Ge­or­gia girl Lu­cille (Laura Pitt-Pulford).

U h r y ’ s a n d Brown’s ver­sion por­trays a frosty mar­riage chilled by the emo­tion­ally re­mote Leo. But in Thom Souther­land’s pow­er­fully sung pro­duc­tion, set in the rather too echo­ing vaults near Lon­don Bridge sta­tion, more c o u l d h a v e been made of the mar­riage’s thaw.

L u c i l l e ’ s t r a n s i t i o n f r o m hi g h s o c i e t y girl to stal­wart spouse is key here, and Pitt-Pulford is too much of a home­body from the start to make this work as fully as it should.

But she sings su­perbly, Brook­shaw is pitch-per­fect as the pinched Leo, and Terry Doe as the guilty jan­i­tor is a tal­ent to watch. Mean­while, Brown’s score bril­liantly re­veals conflicts and com­plex­ity by set­ting the big­otry and lies that re­sulted in a trav­esty of jus­tice to ir­re­sistibly se­duc­tive melodies. ( Tel: 020 7407 0234)

Laura Pit­tPul­ford

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