As a child, I used to enjoy the CBBC tv adaptation of the horrible history books originally written by Terry Deary. My favourite episodes were the ones where the had iconic figure throughout history such as Henry VIII, Boudicca, Charles II and most importantly for this review Blackbeard inform viewers of the lives through the media of song. Whenever somebody mentions Blackbeard I instantly think of the song and the way he used to treat his crew because of the wonderful song from the show. Now you might have guessed that I’m not going to be reviewing the singular song about Blackbeard from this show but instead, the musical soundtrack titled ‘Blackbeard: A New Musical’ with music and lyrics by Rob Gardener. With most of my reviews, the albums I review are often listed on Spotify as a concept album which means that they are not in their final stages and may need some finishing touches and so my review should accommodate this fact. However, the recording of this album is so near perfection it is ridiculous. It is a fully-fledged musical playlist that captures the high and low points at the perfect times within the story, has a fully realised orchestration and amazing vocals throughout.
I think that any show that can educate and entertain at the same time is amazing and this playlist helps to teach people a thing or two about the notorious pirate. The show is based on the life of the famous pirate Edward “Blackbeard” Teach who is more commonly simply “Blackbeard” who utilised some very unique method to entail support from his crew members, which the horrible histories number discusses, however, what the tv show did not cover was the iconic moments in his journey like this show does. The show shines a light on Blackbeard’s blockade of Charles Town in South Carolina which occurred in 1718. This event is something that I had not heard of before so I for one learnt something new from the show. A while ago o reviewed a musical called “Treasure Island” which discussed pirates lives in a more upbeat and more child-friendly manner, however this “Blackbeard” is a much more intense and dark perspective which focuses on this iconic pirate. To me, the show itself is an unusual combination of Les Miserable and The little mermaid which is more suited to a more mature audience due to the intensity of the show.
Like I discussed earlier the songs in this musical are full realised and take you on an emotional rollercoaster throughout the album. Starting a musical with a canon ball explosion was a fantastic way to instantly grab the listeners attention and I can only image how much more impactful this would be with a live audience when lights and effects are added to it. The sound effect appears in the opening moments of the first track titular track “Blackbeard” which I really enjoyed and then the rest of this number was your classic musical theatre song with a mixture of dramatic solos and massive ensemble parts. This number did everything an opening number should do and created a sense of excitement and adventure needed for a show such as this one. To me, the song “Bad Boys” is a song that draws similarities to the song “master of the house” from Les miserable as it very character driving and high energy. The song “The look makes the man” is your classic Broadway villain style song similar to the Ursula from “the little mermaid.” I can see this being the song that people want to sing in concerts as it provides a fantastic opportunity to showcase character acting as well as incredible vocals. The song “Stay with me” is an incredibly beautiful song that was excellently sung by the two performers in this song. My favourite song in this show was “If you want to be a pirate” as it was wonderfully camp and funny which is the type of musical numbers I enjoy the most. The performer of this song fitted the role perfectly and managed to combine the aggression often attributed to pirates with the camp/flamboyance of the song. My favourite lyric from this number was “Mustn’t think too often, more often you must drink” and this is a life motto I will be adopting from now on.
Overall, this is a ‘concept album’ that is ready to be staged and I for one, cannot wait to see this show. The numbers in the show have the audience feeling a range of emotions from joy to sorrowful and everything in between. It grabs the audience attention in the opening moments and keeps a firm grasp on it until the final moment. I would rate this musical 5 out of 5 stars and would recommend it to any history buffs and/or people who crave a sense of adventure in their lives!