As promised, here are some audience comments on the shows:
“Absolutely fabuluos, what an experience, awesome atmosphere!!! I was extremely impressed with the band, very professional musicians [and] with the cast and the crew, very professional and entertaining …”
“It was really good. All the performers were really good. The band was fantastic … I will 100% attend another one …”
“… A very classy ‘opera’ revealing much talent that exists across the board in British prisons …”
“This was the best I’ve seen …”
“… I was absolutely blown away with the whole performance … what about the string quartet – weren’t they something, never missed a beat … In short, brilliant!!! …”
“I think the opera and the actors were all brilliant …”
“… If I could, I would have watched it all over again ..”
“I loved every bit of it. Made me feel very happy …”
“I’ve never been to a rock opera before but I thoroughly enjoyed it and it has really broadened my horizons to more things like this.”
There were so many more comments like this; it was hard to whittle it down to the 9 above. We also had comments from the various outside visitors and VIPs; many of whom have a background in performing arts and are involved in charities who work with prisoners.
“… Absolutely beautiful and truthful on so many levels …”
“I really was blown away by the performance … It was an emotional thing to witness on a number of levels … The show itself was a real emotional rollercoaster – a very intense journey through some complex ideas. I was with you the whole way along … The performances were very honest and open, which made it easy for the audience to connect and empathise with what Jimmy G was going through. The songs were great … Lovely voices … and some superb harmonies too. I loved how ‘big’ some of the arrangements were, with the power of the choir and the quartet supporting those emotional peaks; and the contrast of the quieter moments worked really nicely. The smooth and quick transitions from song to song were really professional. The band was totally on it throughout and the quartet added something really special … [he was also really impressed with the string arrangements]”
“… I was blown away by the quality of the performance and the talent and creativity that you had managed to nurture. It was a bit of an emotional rollercoaster and we were all really moved by what everybody had achieved.”
“… it was a truly inspiring experience. The positive impact it clearly has on the inmates highlights the true redemptive power of theatre, and shows the importance of providing them with somewhere where they can be a team, be part of something creative and expressive, and be treated like people, rather than offenders …”
“I loved it. The quality of every part of the show shone through. To get something of that size, complexity and artistic intricacy up and running in a high security prison was nothing short of miraculous … What we witnessed was professional and of a high artistic quality and a great example of what happens when you have someone driving forward a seemingly impossible idea with such tenacity, integrity and commitment. The way the outside musicians worked togethe with the prisoners to create the ambitious musical score was wonderful to witness ..”
“It was excellent and a credit to all those involved … it carried a very powerful message that should be seen by a wider audience … good enough to put on a West End stage … It would have been nice if the performance could have been seen by relatives of the performers and those involved in the production [well said].”
What can I say .. I was lost for words when I first read all of these wonderful and heartfelt comments. It made the journey worth all of that pain.
Be happy, be safe.
Graham Coutts, 2nd February 2018