In a recent review, I talked about how the intersection of education and musical theatre is something I really enjoy. I must have accidentally wished that into the universe because since that post, I have pretty much have only been reviewing musicals that are based on true events from key points on history (usually events that I didn’t know about!) We are going through an educational reshuffle here in Wales where schools are not legally obliged to discuss true history and the actions/people involved regardless of race, background, sexuality etc. This is obviously very important because throughout school we were taught things such as how strong the British empire used to be but I was never told what we used to actually do to take over these smaller countries. Most shockingly, I learnt during a review for My Lands Shore (available at …) that many years ago there were a series of extremely violent protests/riots that occurred in Merthyr which is famously only a twenty minutes drive from my home but I had no idea before listening to the new musical! I think that children need to learn about our history including all the more violent/controversial moments because only when we learn about it are we able to consider how we can stop it from happening again!
The new studio recording of 1066 comes from the brilliant minds of Rosie Ward, who adapted the book, and Patrick A Rufey,who created the music, lyrics and orchestra arrangement. The new musical tells the story of the battle of Hastings (which is one of the very few moments in history I know a fair bit about) which occurred in the year 1066. After the king of England at that time Edward the Confessor, passed away there is mass confusion as there is no direct succession for the next rule of the country. This leads to three potential rulers fighting to decide who should be in control of the country which is now taught in history lessons across the majority of schools in the UK! I am always a fun interjection of entertainment and education that musicals based on real events as it’s a fun way to learn more about events that we may not be too familiar with or need to learn more about.
One of the highlights of this new recording is that is used an audio experience style recording to really create the tension/excitement that war would bring. This is an epic musical that keeps you on the edge throughout and really portrays the essence of the show itself perfectly! The music with 1066 focuses on creating an experience with the lengthier songs. In total the entire album covers just about two hours worth of music which I am not sure if this is just fit the cast recording or if this in fact is how the musical is structured. The opening number “How Will We Be remembered” is a strange fourth wall breaking song that talks about the characters thinking about the legacies they will leave behind as a result of the war for the throne. It is a massive theatrical and atmospheric number that is crammed full of energy which is a fantastic way to kick start a show! “Harold Coronation” is a long eight-minute song that takes its listeners on a musical experience with a series of very distinct musical sections. This lengthier number is quite popular which this album which really helps to set the scene and create the tension that it requires! However, it was very nice to hear the song “Being Me The Beer” as this is a number very different to the epic numbers in this album. This is a very fun and energetic number that Is set in a pub which I imagine is very entertaining to see performed live! I thought that Sam Pope was the perfect cast of the lead in this number as they showcased all the energy and fun that this number also tried to create.
Overall this is an epic musical that shines a light of an extremely iconic event in British history that most people in the UK will be aware of but other may not know about it! This musical had a very similar vibe to “Les Miserables” so if you like Les Mis then you would love 1066! I would rate this cast recording 4.5 stars out of 5!