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Yarico

Liberty Buckland and Alex Spinney in Yarico. Photo: Honeybunn Photography

The story of Inkle and Yarico and its anti-slave narrative originated in the 17th-century but became popular as an operetta years later with the rise of the abolition era. Now reimagined for the musical theatre stage, the drama of a Amerindian girl, Yarico, who is sold into slavery by the man whose life she saved, still captures the imagination.

Book and lyric writer Carl Miller has fashioned a witty and engaging adaptation that places Yarico centre stage with a stunning professional debut from Liberty Buckland. Themes of love, loss and the spirit eternal are reflected in James McConnel’s lush, evocative score and echoed here by Zara Nunn’s percussion-rich orchestration.

Buckland is joined by Alex Spinney in the difficult role of gambler Thomas Inkle, but Miller’s succinct book allows him a hero’s, if not a happy, ending. There are notable performances too from a tight-knit ensemble, especially Tori Allen-Martin as Nono and Jean-Luke Worrell as Cicero, offering well-timed comic relief.

Model and presenter Jodie Kidd, accompanied by father John, may have been making headlines as Yarico’s ingenue producer, but the real star here is the piece itself, which despite a relatively short gestation period has emerged in exceptionally good shape for a first outing.

Dates: February 17-March 14, PN February 25

Verdict
Exceptional first outing for a promising new British musical

Production

Venue
London Theatre Workshop, London
Authors
Carl Miller (book/lyrics), James McConnel (music), Paul Leigh (lyrics)
Director
Emily Gray
Design
Sarah Beaton (set/costume), Matt Haskins (lighting)
Technical
Zara Nunn Choreographer (musical director), Jeanefer Jean-Charles (choreographer), Samuel Julyan (casting), Jo Abram (stage manager), Louise Smiley (assistant stage manager), Anthony Norris Watson (production manager)
Cast includes
Liberty Buckland, Alex Spinney, Tori Allen-Martin, Jean-Luke Worrell, Keisha Amponsa Banson, Michael Mahony
Producer
John Kidd, Jodie Kidd, Yarico Productions
Running time
2hrs 20mins