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Wow.  What an evening.  I cannot remember a more enjoyable evening of theatre.
Every member of the cast had a vital role to play and indeed had many roles!
Well done to everyone for a brilliantly executed and inspired production.
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Last night my husband and I attended your production of Moll Flanders and thought it was the best thing we have seen for years.
This is the first time we have attended one of your productions and were so impressed we would like to see more...
Please pass on our congratulations to all involved in the wonderful production last night - greatly appreciated
Kind regards,
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Many, many congratulations!
What a brilliant show with  a superb cast.  Well done to EVERYONE involved, we thoroughly enjoyed it.
Best wishes to all
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What a show!! What singing!! What performances!! It was a brilliant evening which we thoroughly enjoyed. Well done!
...Pace was well maintained throughout and the whole evening was thoroughly enjoyable, with the versatility of the ‘Fringe’ group well in evidence and Moll herself a brilliant choice...
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Please pass our congratulations to everyone involved.
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We enjoyed Moll very much last night, but what a bashing for the male. Is it part of the female bid for the moral high ground!!
Here's a thought on animal behaviour:-
Most women eventually get desperate to have a baby.
Would they seriously prefer men to be less interested in sex?
So, if men were truly dis-interested in sex as much as women might wish, or say they are themselves, how long would it take for the human race to die out?
Please thank everyone for a most ambitious and "educational" evening.
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It was fantastic! So glad we came, the whole production was so inventive and professional. Absolutely loved it. Congratulations to you all. Brilliant!
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‘I thought I was in the West End...’.
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‘It was at least TEN TIMES as good as I was expecting...’.
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Audience Reactions

Michael McGreevy’s Review

 

Moll Flanders, the Musical, in Alton “A Celebration of Life”

 

The Alton Fringe Theatre has done it again. What a cracker of a show! Lively, humorous, fast-moving, challenging, touching, spectacular, sometimes sad and often joyous. “Moll Flanders”, based on the novel by Daniel Defoe, must be one of the first really groundbreaking works on the role of women in the world and the way they have been treated. It is a shame on the face of humanity that so much of the abuse and inequality remains. There is one law for the rich and another for the poor, one law for men and another for women.

 

“Who owns this thing?” asks the Mayor of Colchester, “What’s this? A stray? A ragamuffin, rascal, a thing revolting and scabrous.” It’s only Moll at the age of five. And that’s just the start of it. Born in Newgate Prison, Defoe writes, Moll “during a life of continu’d Variety for Threescore Years, beside her childhood, was Twelve Years a Whore, five times a Wife (whereof once to her own Brother), Twelve Year a Thief, Eight Year a Transported Felon in Virginia, at last grew Rich, liv’d Honest, and died a Penitent.” Moll’s is an amazing story. She suffers countless abuses, degradations, is seduced and deceived at every turn. And all she wanted was to live and be loved.

 

“Moll Flanders”, The Musical, manages to tell the story with clarity and warm affection. The Alton Fringe rises to the occasion to do justice to both text and music. The programme lists forty-four parts and the cast of ten embraces them all. We see a wonderful example of ensemble playing as the actors move from scene to scene and from character to character effortlessly.

 

It would be difficult to single out any one performer in a team that was rich with talent. Moll, herself, of course, does invite special commendation. Barbara Rayner beautifully manages to portray Moll through her life; as a child, as a very attractive young woman, and again as she ages into her final traumatic years. Through all the harsh times she never loses either her faith or her confidence in her own gifts. “Moll Flanders” is an affirmation of life. A declaration that the human spirit will not be overcome, no matter what is thrown at it.

 

Mention must be made of the Directors, Alison de Ledesma and Lesley Willis. They worked magic with their outstanding cast and very imaginative use of the space and two poles. With swift change of props and clothes and scarcely a pause in the action we are swept from one crisis to another, across land and sea, until Moll finds herself back in Newgate… terrified, as her mother had been years before, that she is to hang. And what can one say of the music. It was superb and the Musical Director, John Davies, masterfully guided the whole splendid achievement.

 

Rarely can an amateur group offer such a remarkably professional performance. The diction was superb in both song and recitative so that the very complicated story was easy to follow. The singing too was powerful and conveyed the triumphs and the tragedies of the story very vividly.

 

All combined to make this one of the Fringe’s most memorable productions. Long may Alton Fringe Theatre continue to provide us with class works performed with style. It was a wonderful evening of theatre in its many forms. The whole company has every reason to be proud of their achievement. It was brilliantly conceived and skilfully carried through.

 

One was left at the end with an inner conviction that life is good and that the effort to live it well, however often thwarted, is not wasted.

 

Michael MGreevy, 12 July 2009