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Theatre Review: The Legend of Lady Rock

12 October 16 words: Alex Kuster
We got down to Nottingham Contemporary to see the musical based on a historical Scottish murder scandal
Legend of Lady Rock


It's the premiere of The Legend of Lady Rock in Nottingham Contemporary. The venue is a fantastic space and upon arrival, the set is looking good, so I have high expectations for the play.

First and foremost, I am not a fan of musicals, so it’s possible that my view is biased. The play takes place in Scotland in the 1500s and is a classic revenge tragedy. Personally, I don’t think that this plot suits being set to music. The piece is a modern musical retelling of an ancient Scottish tale following Lachlan Cattanach, head of the MacLean clan, and his journey into decline.

Lachlan has an arranged marriage to Catherine Campbell designed to merge his clan with her father's. They try for a child and cannot have one: eventually he tries to kill her by leaving her on a rock, but amazingly she lives. The story then follows Lachlan’s decline into insanity, as he goes on to marry and ruin the lives of two more women (Megan and Elizabeth). By the end he is fully insane, and Catherine forgives him, thus presenting her as the higher being and better person and Lachlan as weak and pitiful. It’s all extremely melodramatic.

The acting and singing are very good and the set and the special effects are spot on. The plot is enjoyable and well-contructed, so it’s a shame that the singing sometimes confuses what's going on. There are a few minor technical difficulties, which is to be expected on opening night. The story was very well portrayed but overall, the entire play could do with a bit of trimming, and the songs possibly toning down a little to stop them overpowering the rest of the show.

It just isn’t my cup of tea, and to be honest I didn’t enjoy it. However, perhaps I am biased because the musical aspect ruined it for me - if you are a fan of musicals combined with Scottish history then The Legend of Lady Rock would be for you.

The Legend of Lady Rock was at Nottingham Contemporary Thursday 6 to Sunday 9 October.

PGical Productions website

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