Charlie Peace - Review by Lucy Wakefield



I attended a performance called Charlie Peace: His Amazing Life and Astounding Legend at the Nottingham Playhouse on Monday 7th October 2013.

It tells the story of a Victorian criminal who lived in Nottingham’s Narrow Marsh for a time. He was known so well he was described as a celebrity villain & regularly changed his appearance to escape the police!

Peter Duncan played the notorious Charlie Peace and Norman Pace played the humorous showman. It featured various art forms including drama, music & graphic art by artist, Eddie Campbell.

I attended this event because the connection with local history interested me. Also, I was lucky enough to be offered discounted tickets via my drama group (Junkshop Theatre Company).

I liked the set design, which changed multiple times from a circus-like tent to different houses, to a train, a courtroom and finally to the gallows. Each time the set changed, graphic art was used including the characters’ faces on spinning coin projections.

I also enjoyed the music which included traditional folk songs. Instead of using an orchestra, this play featured the actors playing the instruments themselves on stage. The music helped to bring the story to life especially when Charlie Peace was being hanged at the end of the play.

There was nothing I really disliked about the play however I felt the singing could have been stronger throughout the production.

I would recommend this show to people who are interested in history and musical melodrama.

Before the performance, I had never heard of Charlie Peace and I learnt the theatre can be used as a teaching resource for other subjects (e.g. history).

During my Gold Arts Award, I would like to see more theatre productions and exhibitions that will give me inspiration for my Art Practise (Jewellery Making).
- Lucy Wakefield