Black Shuck

The Cut, Halesworth

> The Cut, Halesworth

The premiere of an East Anglian musical is both a rare and agreeable delight. This is a fascinating piece, part ghost story, part mix of local folklore and history, cunningly wrapped in a variety of new ideas.

Giving a new lease of life to the old shaggy dog story of Black Shuck, writer Andy Durham, lyricist Phil Corbett and composer Sarah Corbett, have devised both entertainment and food for thought.

Was it just a demon dog, a devil hound who terrorised people 400 years ago? Or a cover for smugglers to keep away the over- curious? Or even a modern parable of fear, retribution and punishment?

It's all that and more. The deepening of the evil in the Church is neatly achieved by linking the story to Annie Proudfoot, first local woman to be hanged as a witch.

Transitions from past to present are smoothly done. The songs are almost all terrific, especially the company numbers and Dark Night of the Soul. The band is hot, light and sound make the atmosphere cool, and acting is top notch.

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The huge, young company is excellent. Principals are confident and supports are promising. Award-winning young people's theatre group Oskar Foxtrot rises to the challenge of a full-scale musical magnificently. It has hit written all over it and deserves a massive audience as it continues on tour.