Newland (4 stars)

This article is from 2012


Funny and intelligent jazz-inflected Western

Love and betrayal jostle for the starring role in this non-traditional Western from the talented cast of M&T Productions. Within the first two minutes of the fast-paced musical, murder, betrayal and cover-ups tumble forth, causing the sheriff of Axeville to flee to up-and-coming Newland, only to discover that the concept of home isn’t as simple as where you lay your hat.

Performances are smooth, subtle and witty, as the cast weave humorous undertones seamlessly throughout the performance, taking care to ensure that no poignancy is lost, and the choreography is creative, particularly a top-notch tap dance routine set in the county jail. Slick with musical numbers dripping jazz and modern influences, some pacing is lost in the slower, more earnest songs, but perhaps that’s because the full-cast razzmatazz of faster-paced numbers is so finger-clickingly contagious, and it cannot be said that any one of the ensemble is anything less than pitch perfect.

Characters are colourful, comedy is plentiful and the reassuringly convivial finale makes this an all-round enjoyable musical journey.

theSpace @ Surgeons Hall, 0845 508 8515, until 25 Aug, 8.15pm, £10 (£8.50).


  • 4 stars

A professional cast premiere an electrifying new musical, where treachery and love prevail during the Californian Gold Rush. An original, contemporary and jazz infused score underpins drama, comedy and colourful characters in an era both vibrant and deadly. The town of Ashfall, under the heroic direction of lawman Harvey…