Northampton to drink in new gin musical

Published: 7 July 2021
Reporter: Steve Orme

Aruhan Galieva and Paksie Vernon in Gin Craze! Credit: Ellie Kurttz

Northampton’s Royal and Derngate is to stage the première of April de Angelis and Lucy Rivers’s “ingenious and irreverent” musical Gin Craze!.

The production has been developed as part of a three-year project which has involved Royal and Derngate’s leading a national consortium to support 150 artists in nurturing the creation of new musical theatre.

Gin Craze! features two lovers, each with hidden secrets, struggling to prosper as gin hawkers at a time in the 18th century when the average Briton drank 1.5 litres of gin every day, women were being locked up in cells to sober up and disorder was breaking out on every street corner. Panic spread among the upper classes who looked to the magistrates, the Church and even their tipsy Queen to restore sobriety.

Book and lyrics are by April de Angelis, whose five-hour-long stage adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s semi-autobiographical novel cycle My Brilliant Friend ran at the National Theatre in 2019. Lyrics are by composer, lyricist, writer and musician Lucy Rivers.

The ensemble cast includes Debbie Chazen, Rosalind Ford, Aruhan Galieva, Paula James, Alex Mugnaioni, Peter Pearson, Paksie Vernon and Rachel Winters.

Gin Craze! is directed by Michael Oakley and the designer is Hayley Grindle. Tamara Saringer is the music supervisor and arranger. Paul Isles is choreographer. Lighting design is by Jack Knowles and sound design by Tony Gayle. The production is produced by Royal and Derngate’s musical theatre producer Tess Dowdeswell.

A Royal and Derngate and China Plate co-production in partnership with English Touring Theatre, Gin Craze! will take to the Royal stage from Saturday 17 until Saturday 31 July.