Theatre review: We Will Be Free! The Tolpuddle Martyrs Story
Edinburgh Fringe Scotsman review: We Will Be Free! The Tolpuddle Martyrs Story at The Assembly Rooms (Venue 20), reviewed by Claire Smith
The story of the fight by Dorset labourers to improve their working conditions is one of the most important in the history of the trades’ union movement and the Labour Party. This production tells it in the form of a traditional mummers’ tale, with songs, rhyming stanzas, and a male and a female actor sharing all the parts.
The actors have a tendency to address the audience as if talking to children watching a pantomime. And I don’t understand why, in a venue as grand as this, they appear to be working all their own lights, sound and audio-visual display. It’s distracting and unnecessary.
Nonetheless, this is an important and stirring piece of history clearly and convincingly told. Its great strength comes from the folk songs of John Kirkpatrick, which convey the emotions of love, betrayal, suffering and triumph.
MORE INFO: We Will Be Free! is at The Assembly Rooms
Originally published in The Scotsman