A Tale of Two Cities: Blood for Blood

A Tale of Two Cities 2022. Hong Kong, Chung Ying Theatre. A ‘thrilling production’ for stage by Jonathan Holloway with a ‘beautiful and mesmerising ‘ original score and sound design by Sarah Llewellyn.

Written and directed by Jonathan Holloway
Produced by Chung Ying Theatre
Music. sound design and music direction by Sarah Llewellyn
Designed by Neil Irish

Due to coronavirus the 2021 production has been postponed until 2022. 

First production was in Hong Kong Jockey Club and the Edinburgh Fringe in 2016.

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)

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  • “, revenge and civil unrest…”

    “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”.

    Review by Simon Fearn for Litro Magazine

  • “beautiful, emotional and thoughtful..”

    “A beautiful, emotional and thoughtful production, this re-imagining brings the Charles Dickens classic comfortably into modern theatre.”

    4 * review by Zoe Atherfild for Edfestmag

  • “..far outstripped my expectations”

    “….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.”

    5 * review by Liam Mullally for Nouse

  • “…revenge, passion and sacrifice shine through thrillingly.”

    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”

    4 * review by Stephen Bates for thereviewshub

  • “…subtle and eloquent..”

    “The piece is beautifully underscored …. subtle and eloquent and is the perfect setting to the performance.”

    5 * review by Caragh Aylett for Edfringe

  • “…a haunting refrain..”

    “…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.”

    5* review by Jessica Baxter edfringe

  • “…political intrigue…”

    “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”

    Josiah Ng for Time Out Hong Kong

  • “sounds of broken hearts resounds in the amphitheatre”

    “…..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.”

    Jutine Denning for hkELD

  • “absolutely mesmerising”

    “..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”

    by Joe Optimistik