Candide by SEDOS

candide
Candide

When SEDOS asked me along to review their current production of Candide I didn’t hesitate. Candide is a musical that I knew very little about but heard its name a lot so I was keen to finally see it.

Photos by David Ovenden

Photos by David Ovenden

The show tells of our simple hero, Candide, who is taught by philosopher Dr Pangloss, that all is for the best. Candide however is about to marry Cunegonde, the baron’s beautiful daughter. The Baron however finds out and exiles Candide. The show follows Candide as he travels around the world, making new friends and encountering old friends on his travels and he is consistently forced to question this philosophy he has had instilled in him.

The show is perfectly cast. Mark Siddall plays the simple title character well and his voice is well suited to his numerous songs. Emma Morgan is ideal casting as Cunegonde. Her soprano voice appears to cope with ease in some incredibly difficult numbers, her demenour and comedy is well played. Her number ‘Glitter and Be Gay’ was a real show stopper, comedy combined with a crystal clear soprano voice. Stephen Russell as Pangloss/Voltaire was also a joy to watch. His characterisation was so detailed and he understood the comedy of the piece perfectly.

The night we saw it the actress for the old woman was indisposed so we were treated to Francesca Canty who was normally in the ensemble. Francesa however did a brilliant job, her accent was flawless and her comedy timing had me laughing out loud at points. It shows just how strong SEDOS is when they have this kind of talent in the ensemble and able to deliver such a strong perfomance at short notice.

candide2The MD was Matt Gould who achieved a great sound from the band and the soloists however the most impressive sound was when the whole cast sang together. The harmonies were clearly well drilled and the audience were hit with a wall of sound. For an amateur company to hit this level of musicality across the board, from soloists to the ensemble to the band is something that SEDOS should be proud of.

SEDOS set the scene beautifully with the floor and set being completely white. It makes for an impressive first impression as well as being hugely versatile as Candide travels from location to location. The main items of set were 2 white sails that moved across the stage and a series of boxes. This is also echoed in the costume where the cast are dressed completely in white with a splash of different colour in each location an idea that worked perfectly. This simplicity was an inspired decision as it allowed us to focus on the story.

Candide is not a show I would rush to see again. At times it drills home the point a few too many times, the story meanders and a few scenes could be condensed. That being said SEDOS delivered the production in a classy manner with an incredibly strong cast in everything from their characterisation to music and a strong visual feast for the eyes.

Candide ran at the Bridewell Theatre from 23rd November – 3rd December To find out more about SEDOS visit their website here.

If you liked this review you may also like my reviews of SEDOS’ previous shows including Reefer Madness, I Love You, You’re Perfect Now Change and Pornography.

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