Chemical wedding, although not set in stone, might be an ultimate realization of a rock musician’s theatrical dream but wait… there’s more.
Clive Nolan‘s mind knows no rest yet his loss of sleep surely is the listener’s gain for the British composer’s recent rush of imagination has been delivering on both aural and visual fronts under different guises. There’s always a danger, though. While ARENA’s "Rapture" served up a well-balanced measure of theatricality, and CAAMORA’s "She" had a solid literary foundation, Nolan’s latest work was all his own, and in the studio version of “Alchemy” the story is outlined so well that one can picture its events, that’s why seeing it brought to life brings wonder and worry. But the show plays out just fine, as Clive succeeded in gathering most of the CD cast on a Katowice stage and made two impressive changes in the line-up.
Whereas Chris Longman (Ben Greaves) cuts an imposing figure, a career in theater making him a perfect sparring partner for Tracy Hitchings (Jane Muncey) in “The Unwelcome Guest” and his cool demeanor a contrast to Agnieszka Swita’s (Amelia Darvas) slightly hyperbolic emotions, additional tension arises in “King Explains” where Soheila Clifford (Jessamine), who shines in “Desperate Days,” confronts her father David (William Gardelle). The latter, a RED JASPER singer, is a real star of the show, his feelings – either romantic or dramatic – shaped in the most genuine way as opposed to the villain of Andy Sears (Lord Henry Jagman), caricature yet, for that reason, even more scary and arrestingly manic in the impressive, expressive stand-off of “Treachery” in which Nolan (Professor Samuel King) has to rise up to his evil counterpart. Yet it’s not duets but trios and quartets that are fantastically realized throughout, reaching for great polyphony in “The Labyrinth” and “Burial At Sea” with Damian Wilson (Captain Joseph Farrell) unfolding his operatic pipes much further than on the album, while the leads are often supported by the choir.
The background singers, appearing in the video, are hidden from the audience for the most part of the show, but the band which are in full view of the audience, as the on-stage screen projections provide the context for the scenes. Still, in the light entertainment, almost cabaret, mode of “Quaternary Plan” or “Tide Of Wealth” starring Paul Manzi (Milosh) and comic cameos from the chorists all eyes focus on the actors, and the music, rather than props. It can’t get more live than that, and the spectator is easily transported to Victorian times: with the show making it to the theaters, there’s no excuse now to not share the magic when it comes near you.