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Church Times Review 26 APRIL 2019

NB - Anna Newcome is named in this review as she played Becket from April-August 2019. Sept 2019 onwards Becket is played by Freya Storch.

AFTER the seriousness of T. S. Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral, the story of St Thomas Becket was just waiting to be retold in the form of a musical comedy — or so James Cary thought. His new play, A Turbulent Priest — the title is allegedly the phrase used by King Henry II to describe his Archbishop — stars just two actors: Johnny Fairclough and Anna Newcome. The pair play a succession of parts, but interestingly, Newcome plays Becket, contrasting with the “strongly male presence” of King Henry (Fairclough)... Cary’s script guides the audience through the narrative, using St George and St Thomas the Apostle as narrators (Becket was born on St Thomas’s feast day). Cary does not assume much preliminary knowledge among his audience. Moments of physical comedy... worked well — unsurprisingly, since Cary has previously written for BBC’s Miranda.

The songs and lyrics in the show by James Sherwood were wonderfully ridiculous, (rhyming of “courtier” with “naughtier”), and included a Church v. State rap battle.... Altogether, Cary and Sherwood’s commitment to comprehensive storytelling is admirable, and a touch of 12th-century silliness makes this a happy two hours of escapism.

 

Lucy Knight

You can also download the MP4 of the 1 minute promotional video HERE.

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