The Prodigals by Joe Harmston and Ray Goudie is a big production musical being premiered at this year’s Fringe. The well-known biblical story is given a contemporary setting. The two sons have been brought up by their widower father Colonel Luke Gibson (David J Higgins). The Gibson family have been steeped in an army tradition for generations.
Mike (Marc Mulcahey), the elder son, has fully embraced the army way of life. The opening sequence is a bold and dramatic choreographed scene set in Afghanistan involving the ensemble of 8 supporting performers and depicts the dangers of coming into conflict with the enemy.
Kyle (Aaron Sidwell), the younger son has rejected the army tradition and along with Kelly, his girlfriend (Lucie Jones), they have become pop stars. When Kelly dies from a drug overdose, Kyle is imprisoned for supplying the drugs. On release, will he be accepted back by his father, brother and with the squad of troops with whom he has been raised?
In the first half, spectacular ensemble, up-beat numbers are tightly performed with Kyle and Kelly taking the lead vocals. In the second half the songs reflect a more sombre mood, and each of the principals is given material to express their innermost feelings.
The clash of cultures is the main theme explored. The discipline and service of the army personnel contrasts with the pleasure seeking way of life in the pop scene. In terms of the songs and performances, it is David J Higgins who is the most convincing in the portrayal of the conflict in his mind, and it is his stage presence which really carries the show.
Reviewed by Ben
Gilded Ballon Teviot/Debating Hall
3 to 29 August 2011 (not 4)
17.00 – 18.00
Fringe Programme Page Number: 290