Monday December 09 2019



Village Music & Drama

Village Theatre Review: Charlotte Badger

Posted on November 19 2008 at 8:58:43 0 comments

Gail and Euan

Keith Woolford reviews a true-life pirate tale at Artrix, Bromsgrove.

On its first stage outing, premiered in this very theatre, I was in a distinct minority at the final curtain as Charlotte Badger and her mutinous crew were extremely well received. Not least, no doubt, for performing in the pirate queen’s home town.

Born some 240 years ago, Charlotte was destined to lead a difficult but colourful life – the story quickly established that she had been awarded a nine-month cruise and seven-year vacation in Australia by the Worcester Assizes.

A generous 18th birthday present, you may think, but with little in the way of holiday romance…though she soon gave birth to a daughter.

A few years later, on another trip on the high seas, she was confronted by Cap’n Chase whose attitude towards the opposite sex was a liberal dose of abuse and flogging. Charlotte took exception to the onboard entertainment; there followed a clash of cutlasses and a new captain.

No prizes for guessing who, but our very own pirate queen became the most feared in the Tasman Sea.

The production is very much a local affair and we were treated to a honed performance by a cast (many having served their time at the nearby Hop Pole Inn) who threw themselves into the show as if their lives depended upon it – which, for the characters they played, was certainly the case.

This is the result of some tweaking to the scenes, songs, actors and the improved scene-linking animations by Phil Brown.

In a really nice touch, Angela Badger – a direct descendant still living in Australia and biographer of Charlotte’s adventures – was a guest of the show. (It was good to see our Foreign Office not holding a grudge and allowing UK entry).

Our leading lady, Gail Graye, was born to wear boots and unsheathe a sword. A likeable and engaging actress, she maintained the momentum in this period piece and, although appearing in all ten scenes, was full of energy and enthusiasm.

Whilst this must have been a distressing time (the 18th century, not the show) the actual hardships endured were suitably toned down for a mixed-age audience, if not the language!

The author, Euan Rose, also directed the delightful cast for this lively entertainment. Another local lad, Charles Townsend, is the company’s music director and expertly conducted from the keyboard.

Last seen, he was lording it around the stage as the judge (boo, hiss), but the role has now been taken on by another familiar face: Kevin Ward, our Town Crier.

This show is like a flagon of ale – I seem to have acquired the taste! Where to now? Well, Malvern beckons and, maybe, the Antipodes! 

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