The Hired Man Review

“The girls do wonderfully in an ensemble that is dominated by males.”

The Hired Man is currently playing at the Landor Theatre until tomorrow night. I know you might think what is the point in writing this review when it finishes tomorrow but I write reviews first and foremost for my own records. I also don’t think it hurts to have another review of a production out there.

The Hired Man was Howard Goodall’s first musical of Melvyn Bragg’s story of everyday Cumbrian life. The plot, which is loosely based on Melvyn’s grandparents, centres around John Tallentire (Joe Maxwell), his wife Emily (Catherine Mort) and their family during 1898 and 1921.  With such a huge chunk of history, one might expect it to drag on but it doesn’t. The stories are told by focusing on the family and the trials and tribulations of events that impact their lives. Andrew Keates has done a brilliant job at bringing the stories together in such an intimate venue that the Landor is.

Photo Credit: Scott Rylander

The casting of this musical is superb. There are some beautiful lead performers with such strong voices and acting. There are plenty of ensemble who do a wonderful job at singing the stunning music of Howard Goodall. The melodies sound glorious. The score has plenty of catchy songs that are performed wonderfully by the very strong cast.

Joe Maxwell as John Tallentire is brilliant. His singing was just outstanding and he had good chemistry with Catherine Mort as Emily Tallentire. Her voice is very pretty and she attacks the score well. I thought Catherine was a very strong actress and portrayed the character of Emily wonderfully.  Abigail Matthews and Ben McMath as their children May and Harry were both brilliant too. I particularly enjoyed Abigail’s voice. Ian Daniels plays Jackson Pennington, the son of the farmer John works for and the man who Emily falls in love with. I thought Ian did a magnificent job and has a stunning voice. .

Martin Neely, Sean-Paul Jenkinson, Mark Fredrick, Kimberley Powell, Garry Mannion, Matthew Gent, Emily Barlow, Matthew McLoughlin, James Parkes, Ruri James, Alistair Baron and Jamie Birkett play various parts in the ensemble which make up the beautiful harmonies in some very wonderful songs and they all add to the brilliance of the piece. The girls do wonderfully in an ensemble that is dominated by males.

If you can go and see The Hired Man tomorrow please do! There are two shows tomorrow so there is still to chance to catch this stunning piece of theatre.


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