Unfolding Tales - Reviews

***** Unfortunately I haven't gotten to see the performance as I live here in the U.S., but I haven't been able to turn off the cast recording. This past week has been Unfolding Tales: The Musical on constant repeat. The vocals, the lyrics, it's all stellar. Truly a work of art. Congratulations to everyone involved. I've certainly been spreading the word around to my friends, maybe someday we'll get to see a performance stateside!”

— Erica Diamond

**** The journey to become a celebrated literary figure was a long and trying one for John Ronald Reuel Tolkien. In his youth, he loses his mother and is henceforth brought up by stern Father Francis. When the romance between Tolkien and Edith Bratt starts to blossom, Francis forbids him to see her again. John prioritises his studies and spends his leisuretime promoting the values of nature, mythology and language with his friends G.B. Smith, Christopher Wiseman and Robert Gilson. Three years pass, and he manages to win his beloved Edith back – alas, the couple is immediately torn apart again when war breaks out. The war marks another period of loss for Tolkien: of friends, faith in humanity and his will to write. He takes on a position as university professor, but it takes the combined efforts of Edith and the new-found friends Warren and C.S. Lewis to nurture back the imaginative author John used to be. In remembrance of his old values and friends, Tolkien completes and publishes The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. In this unique pre-staging of the musical, 5-star performers from the West End channeled sufferings of war and linguistic obsession. Lewis Greenslade, who plays the eponymous writer, inhibits the stage without break but guides through the show with ease. Graham Foote portrays G.B. Smith with such charm and loyalty to his friend, his loss is gravely felt, and Sarah Joyce’s voice and presence as Mabel Tolkien are haunting. Composer and lyricist Joseph Purdue, whose brainchild and passion project this musical seems to be, does a wondrous job of echoing the grandeur of Tolkien’s tales in melodical form, without resorting into copying scores of The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings adaptations. Every song is a showstopper and lends itself to the artists’ most emotional performances. The showcase was captivating, even without fancy set design or props. On the other hand, it screams for a bigger stage and beautiful sets to strike a balance with the grandiose music. Certain scenes and songs seemed so epic and play on such a big scale, they need underlining – which will hopefully happen once this gets an official West End debut. The one thing that could be worked on is the connection between the scenes, as now sometimes the play is almost a bit “too chronological” – things just happen, one after another, without one clear overarching goal. However, the music and lyrics pick up themes and connect storylines in such a way that the story becomes almost redundant…just as long as the actors’ sheer voice power carries on. A great Tolkien fan myself, it was touching to see his life portrayed with such devotion and respect, and I cannot wait to see the full production of this show. Lisa Theresa Downey-Dent”

West-End Wilma

***** Such an amazing production and so much talent. Privilege to be able to see it from the start and hopefully one day it will go all the way.”

— Marie O'Sullivan

***** A brilliant show - thoroughly enjoyable and memorable. Great music and a very talented cast. I can't wait to see it again on a bigger stage.”

— Elene Burjan

***** I recieved the CD yesterday and couldn't wait to play it, I was excited after hearing snippets. But oh my, nothing prepared me for the powerful emotions I would feel while listening to this amazing score. It really is wonderful and I can't wait to see the musical. Please if you love musicals, you have to give this a listen, you will not be disappointed.”

— Viv Chatfield

***** I've listend to this amazing score and read the story! It's a great topic and dramatic story for a stage adaptation. The music is beautiful. The music is a great mix of uplifting comic songs and dramatic duets and solos. I really love the operatic touch in the score, it's something you don't hear that much in musical theatre these days. If it will transfer to the West End I would absolutely buy a ticket!! It's going to be a hit!!”

— Joep Hupperetz

***** Wow, I can not stop listening to the cast recording! The songs are absolutely amazing!! I love it. I can't wait to see how this show grows to become huge. This Musical is fabulous!”

— Georgia Tonge

***** Saw the musical twice and was simple blown away.”

— Martina Tek

***** Wonderful performance and an incredible composition - I'd recommended keeping the original cast - very promising!!!”

— Matthew Patrick Hampsey

***** Amazing performances from every cast member. Incredible songs and orchestration. A story that will never age.”

— Christian Ralph