BUXTON: Review of Cadfael - The Virgin in the Ice at Opera House

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TO a generation of TV fans, Brother Cadfael will be forever Derek Jacobi – but former Blake’s Seven star Gareth Thomas succeeds in convincing as the wise, perceptive and incurably romantic sleuthing mediaeval monk at Buxton Opera House this week.

TO a generation of TV fans, Brother Cadfael will be forever Derek Jacobi – but former Blake’s Seven star Gareth Thomas succeeds in convincing as the wise, perceptive and incurably romantic sleuthing mediaeval monk at Buxton Opera House this week.

He stars in Middle Ground Theatre Company’s world premiere of The Virgin in the Ice, adapted from one of Ellis Peters’s Cadfael novels.

The large cast includes George Telfer, familiar to Chesterfield theatregoers, as a Benedictine monk, beaten up by rogue militia men in the opening scene, and delirious and distressed for much of the play.

The cast, give or take the odd over-enthusiastic villain, do everything that’s required of them, including scene-shifting. The script, unfortunately, doesn’t live up to their capable performances.

In a nutshell, there’s too much of everything: too much scenery, and too many scene changes, which slow down the action; too many sound effects, which sometimes drown the actors; far too many projected images, which serve only to underline plot points which don’t need it.

LYNNE PATRICK