‘Newland’ is a very promising land indeed! According to the Fringe brochure, it is a professional cast with an original, contemporary and jazz-infused score.
With some effective outreach work in the courtyard prior to the start of the show and a woman in the queue back for a third time, then, anticipation of one of the better offerings coming your way is raised.
The show is set during the Californian Gold Rush and, of late, musicals with that kind of background are few and somewhat dated.
However the Wild West offers plenty of opportunities for drama through rough justice and lawlessness.
The hero is the local sheriff and he is central to the storyline as is a Clint-Eastwood-type outlaw who wants to take over the town.
The sheriff is ousted from his post in dramatic fashion and moves away to take up residence nearby with a family consisting of brothers and a sister
There has to be a love triangle and the sheriff is torn between Rose the saloon girl and all that entails and the feisty sister. There is a bit of comedy and the two brothers are at the heart of most of it.
With all the cast on mics and some big production numbers, this show demands your attention from the off and hardly drops the pace throughout. The music is very good and, just as I thought it lacked a memorable number, along came two.
There is some great choreography and the Gene-Kelly-type number brought back images of the golden years of Hollywood.
The show would benefit from an interval as it keeps coming at you, but the Fringe set-up does not always allow such luxuries. If there is a criticism it is that the show might benefit from a couple of ‘softer’ numbers as the saloon girl’s angst is even delivered as a ‘belter’.
Hopefully, Newland might return to Edinburgh over the road at the Festival Theatre, as its qualities deserve that kind of setting.
Show Times: Runs to Aug 25th (not 19th), 8:15pm
Ticket Prices: £10 (8.50)