Coram Boy is a play adapted by Helen Edmundson from the children's novel published in 2000 of the same name by Jamila Gavin. The Sydney production has a cast of 15; and contains original music from Nate Edmondson alongside the stirring sounds of Handel's Messiah. It is a gripping, sprawling tale of Dickensian proportion, period and style that concerns itself with human rights issues of child physical and sexual exploitation. Other themes include sexism, racism and preying on the vulnerable for monetary gain. Even though set back in pre Industrial Revolution England, these problems are still relevant today and continue to plague the global community.
Reputation is also a topic discussed in the play. It us definitely seen to be a force that places people into situations they ordinarily would not entertain. The central plot revolves around protecting the reputation of young single females who are of a similar social standing as Jane Austen's heroine Jane in Pride and Prejudice, who find themselves pregnant. Greed and wickedness unfortunately materialise in the most disastrous form in the shape of Otis Gardiner, and Mrs Lynch who take advantage of these women's socially unacceptable situation. This storyline opens up a gambit of hard to swallow dastardly deeds. The women are blackmailed for money, and the children either murdered or exploited.
Not having the ability to choose your own path in life is another point of concern for Coram Boy. The main protagonist, Alexander, the son of Lord Ashbrook, is expected to follow in his father"s footsteps when all he has the heart for is composng music to the standard of Handel. The results of being dependent on guardians for security and lifestyle are shown through the relationships of Alex and his father; Miss Price and her guardian the local magistrate; Meshak and his unscrupulous father, Otis Gardener. The audience is also shown that some are in a better position to rebell than others. Ideas surrounding kindness of spirit, charity, generosity and having a good heart no matter what your place is in the world, are also touched on, especially by a long speech given by Mrs Lynch to Lady Ashbrook towards the end of the play. The enduring strength of childhood friendship is also a recurring theme. It is what provides the light in much of the gloom for the play's children.
A longish interval break conveniently gives the play a natural feeling that time has passed between the first and second acts. Eight years to be precise. The fortunes of the main characters are played out, as are those of new ones. At all times though we are linked back to the drama of the first act. Much action and adventure ensues in the second act as a daring rescue attempt goes awry. Ultimately though, the play ends full circle to calmer times. Whose calmer times, is what you will need to find out for yourself.
Presented by bAKEHOUSE Theate Co., Coram Boy is now showing for a limited season from 22 November to 7 December 2019 at KXT - Kings Cross Theatre, Level 2 KX Hotel, 246 - 248 William Street , Kings Cross.
Directed by John Harrison & Michael Dean and brought to life o n stage by the talented Rebecca Abdel-Messih, Lloyd Allison-Young, Violette Ayad, Andrew Den, Ryan Hodson, Joshua McElroy, Tinashe Mangwana, Suz Mawer, Emma O’Sullivan, Gideon Payten-Griffiths, Ariadne Sgouros, Annie Stafford, Amanda Stephens-Lee, Petronella Van Tienen, and Joshua Wiseman.
Doors open 6:30 for a 7:00pm start | Ends 9.45pm includes interval. Tickets are from $25 and can be purchased online at www.kingsxtheatre.com/coram-boy