(Not a) Review: Ten Plagues – a work-in-progress, Royal Court

“In London
Came the plague in sixteen sixty five
One hundred thousand dead
But I alive.”

I’m a big fan of Marc Almond so when the opportunity to see him performing in a workshop of a new musical at the Royal Court came up, I was eager to snap up a ticket. Presented as an early part of the Rough Cuts season of works-in-progress and experimental readings, Ten Plagues is a new musical with libretto by Mark Ravenhill and  music by Conor Mitchell.

Taking inspiration from both Samuel Pepys’ and Daniel Defoe’s accounts of living through the Great Plague of London, but also using Susan Sontag’s Illness as Metaphor and Aids and Its Metaphor to also help define the ideas, Ravenhill tells the story of a man’s journey through a city going through a profound crisis as one in five people die.

The story is told through Conor Mitchell’s songs, sung here variously by Almond, Nigel Richards and Omar Ebrahim, although we did have a brief spoken section by Zubin Varla too.

As it is a work-in-progress I won’t be reviewing it, I’m including it here more for completeness for my theatregoing records, but I will say that is does seem like an intriguing piece of work and Marc Almond’s contributions in particular and the final flourish make me very excited to see how this develops further.

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