Review: An Honest Gentleman

Mention Dick Turpin and everyone will know that he was a notorious highwayman, but chances are if you say Thomas Easter you will be met with a blank stare!

Like Turpin, Thomas Easter was also a highwayman plying his “trade” at the same time as his more famous counterpart.

An Honest Gentleman is the latest production for South Norfolk based touring theatre company, Stuff of Dreams. Writer (and director) Cordelia Spence has teamed up with folk musician Tim Lane to bring this swashbuckling story to life through compulsive and at times amusing drama and song.

This is not a musical as such but the songs do hold everything together and there are some superb lyrical pieces.

Thomas Easter (played by Quinn Richards) was born in Aylsham, Norfolk, 1715, son of a butcher. Like many a young boy he yearned for adventure and the charming and roguish lad soon slips into petty theft and a life as a highwayman.

While robbing a coach he meets Lady Temperance Elizabeth Fox (Hayley Evenett) and comes away with robbing her not only of her riches but also her heart. The two quickly team up and what follows is a tale that will keep you entertained, amused and wondering…. is it right to idolise the dashing highwayman (and woman)?

So little is known of Thomas that it enables the writers to use much poetic licence, including the introduction of Dick Turpin (Geir Madland) himself and a dangerous partnership.

This is the first time that I’ve witnessed one of Stuff of Dreams productions, I hope it won’t be the last. Superbly written and performed, this is the best new production that I’ve seen this year.

An Honest Gentleman tours across East Anglia, including two performances at Ipswich’s Christchurch Mansion (3rd & 4th May).

See Website for full tour dates and booking

Review: Mark Keable, Ipswich24 Magazine