Kevin Berry at Theatre Royal, Wakefield - 7th October 2011
Dick Turpin's fabled ride from London to York is staged with stunning theatrical skill in this tour from the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds company.
David Henshall at the Theatre Royal, Bury St. Edmunds - 16th September 2011
What a great gallop! Somebody once said: "When the truth spoils a good legend, stick to the legend." And that's what the battle is all about in this rollicking new musical looking back at the life of the famous highwayman in a kind of 3D. It's truth versus invention.
We have William Harrison Ainsworth defending his best-seller Rookwood - written a century after the event - in which Turpin rides Black Bess overnight 200 miles from London to York and boasting about how his books are outselling Charles Dickens. Posterity, he reasons, can embellish the truth because novelists are allowed to rescue lost reputations.
Paul Couch at the Theatre Royal, Bury St. Edmunds - 16th September 2011
The romantic notion of English anti-hero Dick Turpin is of gentleman highwayman, all tricorn hat, flashing pistols, wooing the ladies, out-thwarting the men and riding off into the moonlight with a pocket full of silver and hearty laugh.
However, in Daniel O'Brien's latest outing for the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, Turpin is painted in a very different light. There are tricorn hats and pistols sure enough, but the ladies are more likely to be raped and the men viciously beaten and murdered by a brutal and barely literate thug and his henchmen.
Glen Pearce at the Theatre Royal, Bury St. Edmunds - 16th September 2011
There's two sides to every story. Dick Turpin. Romantic hero or thief and murderer? As history passes and tales get embellished what's real and what has been embellished to fit the agenda of the storytellers themselves?
Just a few days short of the 306th anniversary of his baptism we still owe much of what we think we know about this countries most infamous highwayman from countless romanticised films and novels.
Anne Morley-Priestman at the Theatre Royal, Bury St. Edmunds - 15th September 2011
The Game of High Toby. It sounds so romantic, doesn't it? Conjuring visions of a velvet-masked and dashing highwayman, silken-clad and thoroughbred-mounted? Perhaps dancing in the moonlight with an attractive coach passenger and then gallantly forgoing his booty for this innocent pleasure? Wrong. Very wrong.
[Daniel O'Brien], the nom-de-plume of the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds artistic director Colin Blumenau, has fashioned a ballad opera - with a clever score by Pat Whymark which combines folk pastiche with a very contemporary sound - from the story of Essex-born Dick Turpin. Turpin was made into something of a hero by the 19th century historical novelist William Harrison Ainsworth, who basically invented the central episode of the ride to York on Black Bess.