The History of The Decent Rogues

The world of musical theatre has recently been dominated by the so-called ‘Jukebox musical’. In 2007 a conversation between best friends Dan Lashbrook (a Bath GP) and Rob Pratt (a Bournemouth music shop owner) took place. This conversation was partially driven by wine but mainly addressed the issue of the lack of new musical writing. They set about devising and writing a brand new book, score and lyrics based around two Edwardian gentlemen who lead double lives as crooks. It seemed fitting to use the Edwardian period as the foundation for the story. The show marks the centenary of this glorious era in history – a time of rebirth after the rather stifled Victorian period. Britain flourished with the arrival of Edward VII – London hosted the Olympics, suffragettes placed themselves on the political stage and the opulence and creativity of the period’s engineering world constructed the magnificent but ill-fated Titanic.

A preliminary reading took place at the Batheaston Medical Centre on Sunday August 15th 2010 and after several edits and rewrites, a demo recording took place at Dan Lashbrook’s house on Sunday 12th Sept 2010. The artists on that demo were Petra Schofield, Robin Fackrell, Phil Styles, Caroline Murray, Rose Lambert and Tim Cooper. Following the demo recording, Petra Schofield was invited to be production director and the original cast were hand-picked from various leading amateur performing societies in Bath. The world premiere took place at the Rondo Theatre, Larkhall, Bath from July 13th-16th 2011. Dan Lashbrook and Rob Pratt played in the band along with Martyn Frith on percussion. The set was designed by Natalie Ball and the techincal director was Luke Emmett.

Original Cast (in order of appearance)

Blinker Jason LeMoir
Percival Goldsmith Tristan Carter
Polly Goldsmith Zoe Manifold
Bevan Bawden Robin Fackrell
Gertie Bawden Sarah Phillips
Chief Constable Phineas Nick Burgess
Myrtle Hawthorn Lesley Chapman
Mavis Darling Vicki-leigh Usher
Mallory Knowles Charly Crook
Agnes Hackett Val Richards
Mr Beauchamp Geoff White
Constable Pippin Tom Coppin
Constable Moffett Philip Styles
Mortlock Jason Crook
Graves Rich Newman
Villagers Katie Brooks & Marjory Huckle,
Charlie and Ellen Schofield

The world premiere received unanimous critical acclaim and won 2 awards including “Best Musical” and “Outstanding Achievement” award from NODA (National Operatic and Dramatic Association). It was further nominated for a technical achievement award.

The Decent Rogues then enjoyed a second run in Bath, this time at The Mission Theatre from 15th-18th February 2012. Robin Fackrell took the title role of Percy Goldsmith, joined by Duncan Mitchell as Bevan Bawden. Richard Grinter (Constable Pippin) and Richard Pugh (Constable Moffatt) joined the constabulary and Joanna Finlay was welcomed to replace Katie and Marjory as one of the villagers. Geoff White became the Reverend Beauchamp following substantial rewrites of the opening scenes which now took place in St Leonard’s Church, Horston Barrow.

The show transferred to London’s Bridewell Theatre, Fleet Street, 22nd-24th March 2012. Once again Robin and Duncan took the title roles of the Rogues, Phil Styles returned to the constabulary, this time as Constable Pippin and Joanna Finlay took on the role of Mavis Darling in the tea-house. A few small edits occurred prior to the London version including a further moment of collusion between Hackett and Blinker as well as small music additions. The London cast performed a show case at the world famous Dress Circle store, Covent Garden on Wed 21st March. Time Out magazine recorded The Decent Rogues as one of the “Top Ten most popular musicals in London” during its run.

The Decent Rogues underwent full orchestration by Pete Readman and released its licence for public performance in June 2012.