A Tale of Two Cities: Blood For Blood. A ‘thrilling production’ for stage by Jonathan Holloway with a ‘beautiful and mesmerising ‘ original score and sound design by Sarah Llewellyn. Produced by Chung Ying Theatre, Next production Hong Kong 2021
James Camp, Nicki Hobday, Eric MacLennan, Mike Rogers. Graeme Rose, Abby Wain, Jonathan Holloway
Dickens’ classic of heroism, espionage and revenge is thrillingly reimagined by multi award-winning writer-director Jonathan Holloway. Direct from acclaimed Hong Kong season this cool, elegant, emotionally punishing production ran April to May in Hong Kong at the Jockey Club Ampitheatre and throughout August at the Edinburgh Festival. at the Pleasance Beyond 2016.
Sarah produced a dynamic electro-acoustic score combining live vocals on stage, with pre-recorded music and sound design. Featuring Francesca Simmons on violin and musical saw. “the scene changes via singing chorus and the sound design were absolutely mesmerising” (full review)
“Sarah Llewellyn’s haunting vocal score, sung by the cast at intervals throughout the narrative, gives the sense of powerful forces at work – love, revenge, and civil unrest – unstoppably driving events down a devastating path”.
“A beautiful, emotional and thoughtful production, this re-imagining brings the Charles Dickens classic comfortably into modern theatre.”
“….Across the board, the cast’s performances are impressive…..A Tale of Two Cities: Blood for Blood far outstripped my expectations, both in its ability to create atmosphere and sustain thematic concerns.”
“Jonathan Holloway finds inventive ways to trim all the fat from Dickens’ meaty work and replace it with striking images, sounds, and atmosphere. The result is that the story’s core themes of revenge, passion and sacrifice shine through thrillingly. Voices echo from the back of the stage, haunting music (composed by Sarah Llewellyn) punctuates the action and subtly changing lighting takes us to dark places”
“The piece is beautifully underscored …. subtle and eloquent and is the perfect setting to the performance.”
“…Overlapping language links together like a constant song. Voices rest atop dramatic violins and dialogue builds up into a haunting refrain sung pitch perfect by the actors, in between scenes to indicate the passing of time.”
“The themes of grief, the stripping away of Dickensian theatricality, the political intrigue and the pertinence of damaged human relationships are all brought to the forefront”
“…..sounds of broken hearts resound in the amphitheatre. Music is also integral in this adaptation. Sarah Llewellyn, who is the Composer and Sound designer, has created a electric-acoustic score; ‘with distinctive music helping to illustrate the passing of time and the journeys within the play’. .. It is soft and captivating. The actors themselves performing the vocal chorus on the edges of the stage….This is an expertly devised adaptation …… It is refreshingly staged and emotionally gripping.”
“..Holloway is great at creating atmosphere – the most significant difference for me was the sound and musical appeal. The scene changes via singing chorus and the sound design (credit to Sarah Llewellyn) were absolutely mesmerising. Enhancing the ensemble energy, it was excellently paced and was an exercise in aural spaces, filling the theatre with ominous feeling and anticipation…..the captivating story that leaves you with a hauntingly bittersweet echo of romance and tragedy”