If you’re a regular reader of my blogs, then you may have noticed that I’ve based one or two of them on the theme of the New Year lately – it’s still January, so I’m still allowed! The important part of it all is of course the word ‘new’. A new year brings new hope, new surprises and a new start. In my 2012, it’s also brought a new addition to the family – I’m now an auntie five times over as my sister welcomed little baby Maisy into the world last night! I’ll be meeting her today, so I’m sure to be wearing a big smile for the rest of the day. That’s what is so amazing about encountering ‘new’ things: they are exciting and thrilling and can send chills down your spine. These smile-inducing occurences don’t come about all too often really. In your personal life, a new baby or a marriage is the sort of thing to do it – but what about in theatre?
New (ish) productions come along all the time, especially in this fair-weather climate we currently seem to be living in. We may be keen to see them, but let’s be honest; how often do you get truly ‘spine-chilled’ by them? Ghost and Matilda were probably the only two big-hitting West End shows in 2011 to have that effect, and even they weren’t very original: Ghost had the benefit of an Academy Award-winning film (and that song!) behind it, and Matilda was based upon a book by one of the UK’s best loved children’s authors of all time. That’s not to say I’m knocking them, because I’m not; I’ve seen both productions and thought they were completely marvellous. My point is that, as brilliant as they are, they cannot claim to be ‘new’ and ‘original’.
One musical which can lay claim to being both of those things is My Land’s Shore. This new musical from Wales has much going for it: it has a gloriously rich score, it has an absolutely stellar cast attached and, most importantly, it is fresh. There are no familiar pop tunes or rock classics in My Land’s Shore and there are no films or books to turn to in advance – unless you pick up a Welsh history book. I’ve mentioned the musical in previous blogs and told you all about the Merthyr Uprising of 1831 which provides the backdrop to the story and its hero, Dic Penderyn, the first martyr of Wales, so I shan’t rehash them here. It’s no secret that I have a lot of time for Christopher Orton and Robert Gould’s creation; I’ve written about the MLS recording sessions I’ve been to and that I’ve been very vocal in my belief and support of the show.
Still, I have very good reason to be and soon, you will be able to find out for yourselves just why MLS gives me spine-chills. On the 6th of February, the My Land’s Shore cast album will be released. After months of teasing, fans will finally be able to own a little taste of the magic with this studio cast album which showcases a selection of songs from the musical, the score of which was described by renowned Britsh composers Stiles & Drewe as, “soaring, passionate and hauntingly melodic’. If that wasn’t enough for you, this powerfully moving score is performed by some top West End talent, such as; Killian Donnelly, Rhiannon Porter, Kelly-Anne Gower, Gareth Richards, Alexis James and Sarah Lark – all led by the superb Jonathan Williams, who was most recently seen wowing the audiences of the Queen’s Theatre as ‘Jean Valjean’ in hit musical Les Miserables.
My Land’s Shore is a musical which has been ten years in the making and now, it is finally ready to make its mark on the world. The album features sixteen tracks and is being released by SimG Records, the counterpart to the ardent supporter of new and unknown work, SimG Productions. Available to preorder on the My Land’s Shore website now, the My Land’s Shore team are offering another incentive to buy (if you needed one) – the first 70 people to pre-order a copy of the forthcoming album receive a MLS pin badge as a means of gratitude.
The night before the album’s release, the cast and creatives of My Land’s Shore will be performing a 30-minute set for the popular Gigging4Good cabaret at St Paul’s (The Actors) Church – so if you fancy a little taste-test before buying, this is the perfect way to do so.
Nobody can make you go along of course; just as nobody can make you buy the album. Honestly though, why wouldn’t you want to? I’ve become very close to the show and make no efforts to hide that. I love good theatre and so do you all, or so I imagine. I am fortunate enough to have procured a more prominent platform from which to voice my opinions, so if I come across something that I find to be as utterly special as this is, I want to share it with as many people as possible. Voila!
My Land’s Shore is ‘a musical gift from the nation of Wales’ and, in my world anyway, it’s considered rude not to accept a gift when it’s offered to you. So go on; take it and enjoy it as much as I have.
By Julie Robinson (@missjulie25)
17th January 2012