Chichester students offer The Only Way Is Essex 18th-century style

The University of Chichester’s Musical Theatre Performance Company present the fourth instalment of their New Musical Summer Project.

Marriage a la Mode - Carl Gamage and Aimée Cupper who play the lead roles of Percy and Cecilia
Marriage a la Mode - Carl Gamage and Aimée Cupper who play the lead roles of Percy and Cecilia

After success with Gulliver’s Travels by Chris Chambers and Andy Rapps, Notre Dame by Ed Court and The Stationmaster by Tim Connor and Susannah Pearse in 2019, they return following a 14-month postponement, with the premiere of Charles Miller and Victoria Saxton’s new musical Marriage A La Mode.

The show is produced by Andrew Wright, directed by Emma Kilbey with musical direction from Daniel Jarvis, choreography by Tosh Wanogho-Maud and design by Francine Huin-Wah.

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Andrew said: “Composer Charles Miller and librettist Victoria Saxton joined forces to create a new musical inspired by the paintings of William Hogarth. This piece was workshopped and presented at London School of Musical Theatre in 2014 and we are delighted to be delivering the first fully produced version of this hilarious new British musical with original orchestrations by Daniel Jarvis


“Should one marry for money or for love? Posh (but poor) Percy and rich (but common) Cecilia are forced to wed by their parents. And soon wind up dead. Gin-soaked, syphilis-riddled 18th-century London meets The Only Way Is Essex in Marriage A La Mode, a witty new musical inspired by Hogarth’s legendary paintings.

“Real-life history echoes today’s self-obsessed society in this comic yet cautionary tale, set to a soaring musical score.”

Final-year student, Carl Gamage, who plays the central role of Percy, said: “I have had such an incredible time on the musical theatre performance degree at Chichester and have been so very lucky with the production opportunities that have been offered to me.

“I am over the moon to be playing the role of Percy. Charles and Victoria have created a boisterously merry but hugely poignant musical, I just hope I can do it justice.

“I am so excited that we are able to perform this show to a live audience! What a way to end my three years at Chichester.”

Librettist Victoria Saxton said: “We could all do with a laugh at the moment! Hogarth’s darkly satirical humour seems more relevant than ever. Come and join us for a raucous, searing, gin-soaked event!

“With a musical, you never quite know what you’ve written until you see it on its feet so this is such an invaluable experience for a new piece.

“We are delighted to be working on MALM with Chichester. The students have been throwing themselves wholeheartedly into the process under the brilliant creative leadership of our director Emma.”

Marriage A La Mode runs in The Assembly Theatre, University of Chichester, Bognor Regis Campus, PO21 1HR on June 24 and 25 at 7.30pm and June 26 at 2.30pm and 7.30pm.

Tickets on; £8 (full price) and £5 (concessions/NUS).