Freckles is set in 1930s South Devon opposite the iconic art deco hotel on Burgh Island, where rich and royalty often stayed.
FreckleS is set in late 1930s South Devon, England, in the small coastal town of Bigbury-on-Sea, which sits opposite the iconic Art Deco hotel on Burgh Island, where the rich, famous and even royalty often revelled in those days. The mundane routine of the town is threatened by the arrival of Fran Ethel Red, an unkempt and apparently unruly 10-year-old girl, fostered from the city, who doesn't want to belong.
An occasional homage to Anne of Green Gables, the story focuses on how Fran, 'Freckles', who is received with suspicion and sometimes distain as a misfit 'foreigner', initially disrupts and over time changes perceptions in the small-minded, conservative community.
Fran has an impact on the lives of three women in particular. Martha Timms, wife of Ralph, is childless and lacks confidence due to her controlling upbringing. She is torn between wanting a child and fearing she isn't capable of loving one; and she accidentally fosters Fran, expecting a boy! Mrs Rathbourn, on the surface the perfect wide and mother, but also the town gossip, feels neglected, unappreciated and almost invisible to her successful husband. Mrs Blewitt, who has an endless horde of children, is exhausted and drowning in washing and cleaning, and is not supported by her hapless husband, who prefers the relative tranquility and company in the local inn.
Fran, through various, often unintended, exploits, and all-the-while apparently engendering suspicion and sometimes consternation through leading the other children astray, provokes each of these women to question their lives. Is she the cause of positive change or a disruptive influence? Can she be trusted, or is she a thief? Will she win around the community? Most of all, will she, for the first time in her life, want to belong? In any event one thing is certain, Fran, the three women and the community at large will never quite be the same again.
The musical spans three years from Fran's arrival to the spectre of World War II in 1939. Freckles is a sensitive, heart-warming, humorous and occasionally distressing tale, confronting issues such as prejudice, mistrust of the unknown, displacement and belonging. With delightful sub-plots, including encounters with ghostly characters revelling forever in 'The Inn With No Way Out', a terrible damaging storm that destroys the school, glamorous characters partying and dancing the Charleston on Burgh Island and, because of Fran, the fortuitous intervention of one celebrity in particular, Wallis Simpson ("W") - who later married King Edward VIII of England after his abdication from the throne - the story navigates the lives of people in a rural community, who have their eyes opened. They are touched in different ways by one small, fostered livewire, the often Miss Red, and always Freckles, Fran...
The Freckles Effect is "a sure fire hit, not to be missed!"
British Theatre Guide - Edinburgh Festival Fringe, 2016
THE CREATIVE TEAM
BOOK WRITER AND LYRICIST
Mel is a writer, lyricist and qualified Drama and English teacher. Her writing credits include pick of the week BBC Radio Dramas, BBC School Radio Drama and Dance programmes. She has worked for the Unicorn Arts theatre and Mattel on children’s audio tapes. Mel was a story-liner and series script-writer for an on-going BBC Wales Radio Drama “Station Road” and has written for BBC television drama “Doctors”. Mel was a script writer/devisor of “Speak Up” radio programmes, Africa Educational Trust. Mel runs BATS youth drama. Several students have reached the finals of Bath Young Actor of the Year. Mel has started her next musical and is also writing pop songs.
Matthew composed his first musical, “Frame By Frame” whilst studying for his MA in composition at Bristol University kindly funded by the Mackintosh Foundation. The musical was a finalist in the prestigious Vivian Ellis Awards. Since then he has written a number of youth musicals, including the one woman show “Laura’s Star”. Three years ago, Matthew combined excerpts from his musicals to produce a Musical Collage called "Wants. Needs. Dreams" which was performed at the Rondo Theatre, Bath. Matthew has also composed music for Theatre, Television, Radio, Big Band, Church choirs and even Dressage! He is Musical Director for Bath Light Operatic Group.
TOM COLEMAN & OWAIN CORY
Owain has a Masters in Music from Bath Spa University. Tom has a Degree in Music. Tom and Owain are young professional composers from Bath. As a pair they have been involved in composing music for ‘The Liberty Tree’ and ‘Freckles’. Over recent years they have also branched out into the world of music for media, composing music for 1 Love Music and one of Rockhopper TV’s latest productions. As performers, they have shared a stage with the likes of The Heavy, Chas & Dave, Goldie Lookin’ Chain and Sam & The Womp. Tom is a current and Owain a past member of the band “Bare Knuckle Parade”.