Composition

MUSIC THEATRE COMPOSITIONS

Pendragon

Music by Peter Allwood
Book and Lyrics by Peter Allwood, Joanna Horton,
Jeremy James Taylor and Frank Whatley
Published by Josef Weinberger Ltd

Critic’s Choice in the New York Times and the coveted HAMADA Edinburgh Festival Award.

fullsizerender-9A journey back in time to the Court of King Arthur Pendragon – where Guinevere, Merlin, Sir Launcelot, the Lady of the Lake and the Knights of the Round Table battle with Morgan Le Fay and the forces of evil. This thrilling exploration into the darker depths of Arthurian legend was the smash hit of the 1994 Edinburgh Festival Fringe and has since been performed in London, New York, Japan, Hong Kong, and many other countries around the world. Poetry, puppetry, magic and mime are interwoven with a beautiful musical score to create a spectacular theatrical experience of comedy, pathos and power.

Setting
The scene is the Dark Ages. The tribes of Britain struggle for survival and warring factions fight for supremacy. Uther Pendragon emerges to become King of Britain. He has a son, Arthur, who is raised under the guidance of the Merlin. Arthur’s half-sister, Morgan, escapes from a convent and a chance meeting with Arthur in the forest changes the life of each. He rejects her, she curses him. The curse is to be fulfilled, but the spell is eventually broken and love and harmony reign at the court of Arthur Pendragon and Guinevere as Excalibur rests in the heart of a Round Table.

A little background to Pendragon (with members of the original cast) on YouTube

Orchestration
Piano, Synth, Double Bass, Flute doubling Alto Flute, Pan Pipes, Horn in F, extensive Percussion (two players), and on stage, where possible, Gamelan and Harp.

Bendigo Boswell

Music composed and arranged by Peter Allwood
Book by David Scott and Jeremy James Taylor
Lyrics by Jeremy James Taylor
Published by Josef Weinberger Ltd

Written for the National Youth Music Theatre, Bendigo Boswell – “a haunting tale highlighting the dramatic consequences of harbouring prejudice” – was a winner of The Scotsman Fringe First Award at the Edinburgh Festival in 1983 and was later produced for BBC Television.

Synopsis
The recent loss of Bendigo’s mother has sent him into an emotional spiral, as he and his gypsy family migrate to the Kentish countryside in their search for work. Meeting a young London girl, Anna, seems to be the perfect antidote for his grief; but Bendigo dangerously projects the attributes and spirits of his mother onto her. Anna interprets it as love. Bendigo sees it as a chance finally to lay his mother’s soul to rest.

Orchestration
Variable, but the standard is Piano, Dulcimer, Concertina, Bass, Violin, Flute , Clarinet, Trumpet

Jack Spratt VC

Music by Peter Allwood
Book by David Scott and Jeremy James Taylor
Lyrics by Jeremy James Taylor
Published by Josef Weinberger Ltd

Written for the National Youth Music Theatre, Jack Spratt VC  was a winner of The Scotsman Fringe First Award at the Edinburgh Festival in 1985.

Synopsis
Set in World War 1, three evacuees at two English country schools learn lessons about courage, responsibility and commitment which steady and reunite them. Maggie and Henry help 13 year-old Jack Spratt overcome a fear of water brought on by years of abuse by his mother, little knowing their success will save two of their lives during the war. A touching, inspiring story about friendship and personal triumph.

Orchestration
Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, 2 Horns, Trumpet, Trombone, Percussion, String Quintet, but reduced orchestrations are possible.

Jeremy James Taylor, David Scott, Peter Allwood

Les Petits Rats

Music by Peter Allwood
Book by David Scott and Jeremy James Taylor
Lyrics by Jeremy James Taylor
Published by Josef Weinberger Ltd

This musical had a three week run with the National Youth Music Theatre at Sadlers Wells in 1988.

The 19th century children’s “corps de ballets” at the Paris Opera provides the setting for this moving story about a former dancer whose determination to spare her talented daughter from the heartbreak and hardships of the ballet stage is undermined by the patronage of the man who long ago deserted them both. An excellent show for young dancers, “Les Petit Rats” features two optional ballets: “Cinderella,” and the comic “Vegetable Ballet.”

Synopsis
Set against the romantic backdrop of 19th Century Paris, this musical concerns the celebrated troupe of child ballet dancers (the ‘petit rats’ of the Paris Opera) and in particular Mariette, the young daughter of the ruthless Duke of Bordeaux and one of the prima ballerinas, who must choose between the success and fame of the pasteboard-glitter ballet world that her father inhabits, and an anonymous life of love and affection with her mother. With a suitably lush score, this show is ideal for secondary youth groups with an interest in dance.

Orchestration
Fl, Ob, 2 Cl, Bsn, 2 Hn, Tpt, Tmb, Piano, Harp, Percussion, Strings

Aurelius

Music by Peter Allwood
Book and Lyrics by Peter Allwood, Joanna Horton,
Jeremy James Taylor and Frank Whatley
Not published

The Independent
The National Youth Theatre have excelled themselves in this new 21st-anniversary production. Based on a story from a 17th-century chapbook, Aurelius is the most glorious romp, full of swashbuckling adventures in teeming London and on the high seas, romance, ferocious female pirates, a hilarious Carry on up the Harem sequence at the court of the Turkish Sultan, and some of the sprightliest Cockney apprentices this side of Oliver! These young performers continue to amaze with their incredible confidence and verve: James Hoare was an engaging and pleasant-voiced hero; Lucy-Anne Bradshaw a formidable Long Meg, the pirate chieftain(ess); Sophia Thierens a prim merchant’s daughter; while Amy Nuttall made a charming Princess Ismene. Brilliant cameo roles were really too many to list, although the deliciously bumbling Sultan, a bizarre female Viking, the diminutive but ferocious Sergeant Major Fuzuck, and a camp Turkish dancing master in baggy pantaloons do stick in the mind. Peter Allwood’s atmospheric music was performed, with their customary skill, by the NYMT musicians under Alexander L’Estrange. A marvellous show, like a really good, rollicking pantomime, minus the corny jokes.

 

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