Exposé Online banner

Clive Nolan — Alchemy
(Metal Mind 1469 DGD, 2013, 2CD)

Clive Nolan — Alchemy
(Metal Mind , 2013, DVD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2014-05-12

Alchemy Cover artAlchemy Cover artClive Nolan, the Andrew Lloyd-Webber of prog, is back with another theatrical extravaganza. Those familiar with 2008’s She will be right at home with this production, although there are several new twists. The story — an original this time — is set in Victorian England and involves a small group of heroes out to thwart a madman’s attempt to unlock the ancient mysteries of eternal life. It unfolds at a brisk pace across two CDs (split into Acts I and II), and in one marathon concert performance on the DVD. The music and vocals are so close on both that I can’t help but wonder if some sweetening was added to the stage show to flesh out the sound and smooth out any rough spots. But it’s still good to see the performers going through their paces on stage, which helps to bring out some of the nuances in the characters and story telling that at times are buried or feel a bit rushed on the CD. Nolan takes a lead role as Samuel King (a cross between Professor Quatermass and Harry Potter’s Alastor Moody) and fellow She veteran Agnieszka Swita plays the heroine Amelia. The rest are mostly new faces, including names familiar to fans of British neo-prog (Andy Sears, Paul Menel, Damian Wilson, and Tracy Hitchings) and performers from the Caamora Theater Company Nolan assembled to tour She around the world. There are no weak singers and all possess a knack for musical theater, though Victoria Bolley and David Clifford deserve special mention. Its one thing to front a rock band, but to be successful in musical theater requires an entirely different type of talent (acting and dancing, for starters), and these two at least have the vocal chops for it. As musical theater goes, Alchemy isn’t the greatest thing I’ve ever seen but it’s not the worst. Nolan should be commended for stretching himself and for giving a bunch of rock musicians a shot at expanding their careers into new territories. The show has rough edges (which Nolan himself alludes to in the DVD’s bonus interview) but it’s an enjoyable romp and well worth a visit.

Filed under: New releases, 2013 releases

Related artist(s): Clive Nolan

Latest news

2019-10-06
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more

2019-08-20
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Faith & Disease - Insularia – The new Faith & Disease album is a continuation of the sound set forth on the Livesongs: Third Body album. That is slow, dreamy music, more similar in style to Mazzy Star than Dead Can Dance. If...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues