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The Prodigals: A Man Had Two Sons; REVIEWS.

The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry **** I was excited about seeing The Belgrade's original new musical after seeing a snippet at the London rehearsals last month - and was not disappointed. The tightly-choreographed army street dance sequences were impressive in the early weeks, but seeing the excellent cast of dancers/actors in full uniform on stage was incredibly powerful.

It was all the more authentic having been choreographed by former Royal Military policeman turned actor/consultant Brendan Riding alongside choreographer Natalie Murdoch, who has a background in energetic urban street dance.

As the name suggests the musical is a modern version of the Biblical parable of the prodigal son in a military setting - Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

It is an intensely moving story about war, drugs and the relationship between three men - a colonel and his two sons. The brothers, who lost their mother aged 13 and 17, grow up into an army family and train as soldiers.

Yoga-practising Mike (Sam Ferriday) - the eldest - is a captain, who was top of his class at Sandhurst. He plays by the rules and treats his body as a temple. Kyle (Greg Oliver) is more into playing guitar with his friend Kelly - former X Factor contender Sarah Watson. When they get offered a contract with 'Lost' Records and the chance to support The Pharisees on tour, Kyle leaves the army and gets hooked on heroin. His fall from grace is a nod to music's modern prodigal son, Pete Doherty.

The staging is stunning, based around a huge metal cage called The Beast, cleverly overlaid with striking projections, from beautiful poppy fields blowing in the wind to Kelly's handwritten diary entries and a massive Union Jack.

The acting and singing is top notch but I was expecting rock star Kyle's band, The Prodigals, to be a little more edgy - it sounded more X Factor than The Libertines.

The Prodigals is a musical with its heart in the right place. Be prepared for a night of raw emotion.

The play runs until September 14 Catherine Vonledebur
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Sep 5, 2013
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