Review of ‘Romford Rose’ at The Queen’s Theatre

ROMFORD ROSE IS A DRAMATIC STORY THAT CONTRASTS THE SIMPLE LIFE REPRESENTED BY COUNTRY MUSIC AGAINST THE REAL LIFE WE FACE EACH DAY, a situation that in old movies would have ended in a western style shootout is taken and dealt with in the real world

Written and Directed by Chris Bond, at first appearance Romford Rose seems to be just a night of line-dancin’, fine –dancin and original tunes but as the night carries on it becomes obvious that not everything is rosy in the home of the Romford Rose.

Sarah Day & Wade Lewin 1

Some people may see country style music as outdated but Romford Rose takes this style of music and uses it alongside a plot that you may more be used to seeing on Eastenders, touching on everyday issues including child abuse, the doctor’s strike and shell shock. Because the story evolves in this way you never know what to expect and the topics are continuously changing.

The band takes central stage; they are referred to by the characters who will introduce the song as if they had requested it to be played. The band also often picks up key roles; this is especially true of Jennifer Douglas and Liz Kitchen who pick up the roles of cranky old Aunty and Granny, as well as a few others in the night, while also playing the violin and drums.
Central to the band was BJ Cole, a musician who has recorded many great names in popular music (such as Elton John, Marc Bolan and Sting), showing his amazing talent on the Pedal Steel Guitar, an instrument that is used with great affect to set the tone of scenes and also to provide a traditional country style feeling to the night. The songs are catchy and there were a few tracks I would have been happy to buy if the soundtrack was available to buy online.

The ultimate star of the night was Sarah Day, who plays the title role of Rose. This is Sarah’s first appearance at The Queen’s Theatre and she did a fantastic job of portraying the frustrations of a teenage girl dealing with a roller-coaster ride in the few days after her 18th birthday. Sarah sang at the Oliver Awards (2014 and 2015) and she certainly makes use of her fantastic voice during the whole night.

Sam Pay, who we’ve seen a few times at The Queen’s Theatre, plays Rose’s abusive father and Nicky Croydon appears as her mother. Sam and Nicky’s talents and previous experience made the characters and the abusive relationship between the mother and father believable, this often made the character’s story quite hard to watch as we share in the emotions of fear and desperation being experienced by Rose and others around her.

The whole show provides an interesting and thrilling night that will constantly leave you guessing which direction the plot will go

Mum – Nicky Croydon
Rose – Sarah Day
Jack – Wade Lewin
Dad – Sam Pay
Pedal Steel Guitar – BJ Cole
Keyboard – Jo Collins
Violin – Jennifer Douglas
Drums – Liz Kitchen
Guitars – Howard James Martin
Bass – Iain Whitmore

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