by Leopold Lewis
A new version by Deborah McAndrew
Produced by Northern Broadsides – September 2004
Directed and composed by Conrad Nelson
With Sean O’Callaghan as Mathias
Deep in the snowbound mountains of Alsace a savage crime remains unsolved. Fifteen years on the assassin, Mathias, is now rich and respected, but tormented by guilt.
Driven by desperation to escape detection and consumed by conscience, Mathias hangs suspended between sanity and terror, as nightmarish visions, conjured from the depths of his mind, administer justice.
“A canny, cleverly judged piece of work in which the combination of melody and drama (melodrama) melds perfectly so that often it seems as if the band of violin, clarinet and percussion is telling the story with as much clarity as the actors…….. an affecting and unaffected piece of popular theatre” Lynn Gardner The Guardian***
“As melodramas go, The Bells still seems superior stuff. It doesn’t just show a series of sensational events leading to a denouement in some theatrical Chamber of Horrors …..the musicians, with their quivering fiddle, woodwind and drum, do what’s wanted: create the sinister, spectral feel that set audiences’ hair on end 130 years ago” Benedict Nightingale The Times***
“McAndrew has invigorated the story with the strength and vitality of her dialogue. There is rhythm where necessary and the humour is wonderfully brusque….. They (McAndrew and Nelson) have conceived a new way to stage the climax and it is a master stroke. (The Bells) has been given a thorough dusting off and is no longer a museum piece.” The Stage
“Deborah McAndrew brings an impressive poeticism, full of alliteration and assonance, which emplaces a new backbone in the story, and the musical embellishments by Nelson succeed in creating a superb theatrical celebration to thrill the spirits.” Whatsonstage.com