Voted the best musical of the 20th Century by Time Magazine, Carousel is the classic American musical, with a timeless score that includes the songs If I Loved You, June Is Bustin’ Out All Over and the iconic You’ll Never Walk Alone. This imaginative interpretation from Morphic Graffiti illuminates the immediacy of this heart lifting story; the belief in forgiveness and the power of the human spirit.

When mill worker Julie Jordan falls for the masculine charms of Billy Bigelow, a chain of events unravels that suggests their destiny is predetermined by the hand of fate. Set on the New England coastline, against the backdrop of the Great Depression, this reimagining of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel charts a story of recklessness, regret and redemption.

Music by Richard Rodgers 
Book and Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Based on Ferenc Molnar's play Liliom
As adapted by Benjamin F Glazer
Original Dances by Agnes De Mille
Presented by arrangement with R&H Theatricals Europe
Luke Fredericks
Musical Supervisor
Larry Blank
Creative Consultant
Kim Poster
Musical Director
Andrew Corcoran
Lee Proud
Mark Cumberland
Set and Costume Designer
Stewart Charlesworth
Lighting Designer
Catherine Webb

Julie Jordan
Gemma Sutton
Mr Bascombe/Starkeeper/Doctor Seldon
Paul Hutton
Billy Bigelow
Tim Rogers
Carrie Pipperidge
Vicki Lee Taylor
Mrs Mullin
Valerie Cutko
Policeman/Carnival Boy/ Ensemble
Anton Fosh
Nettie Fowler
Amanda Minihan
Enoch Snow
Joel Montague
Jigger Craigin
Richard Kent
Charlotte Gale
Katrina Dix
Joseph Connor
Susie Porter
Enoch Snow Jr
Michael Carolan

‘The result is an emotional wringer of a revival. Spirited, funny and achingly sad’

The Telegraph


Ben Brantley - New York Times
Morphic Graffiti’s production for the Arcola Theatre takes the inspired liberty of shifting the setting forward almost half a century, so the narrative begins in the American depression and concludes as the Second World War is ending…. Everything about Fredericks’s production pulsates with intelligence and focus, from the women’s limp homemade dresses, to the dangerous energy of Lee Proud’s choreography, in which festivity constantly trembles on the edge of violent chaos. The result is an emotional wringer of a revival. Spirited, funny and achingly sad, it finds every nuance of tenderness and danger in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic, and expresses them as though for the very first time. Jane Shilling
The Telegraph ★★★★★
This revelatory fringe production reveals haunting new textures in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s richly patterned tapestry of life and romance among millworkers, fairground staff and fishermen in Maine. That’s partly thanks to a gentle timeshift - the action has been relocated from the 1870s to the 1930s, which puts the show in a more recognisable and tangible past - but mainly thanks to the thrilling intimacy of Luke Fredericks’ beautiful production at the Arcola. … performances of aching sincerity and wonderment from Gemma Sutton and Vicki Lee Taylor as the two millworker friends whose marital lives have such different outcomes. Tim Rogers gives a stunning account of Billy Bigelow’s Soliloquy that reveals the tender heart behind the troubled man. A terrific five-strong band, led from the piano by Andrew Corcoran with a rich harp provided by Alex Thomas, adds musical muscle to a stunning evening. Mark Shenton
The Stage ★★★★★
Director Luke Fredericks has equally skilfully adapted Carousel’s huge demands to the tiny Arcola stage with the help of Stewart Charlesworth’s inventive designs and Lee Proud’s brilliant choreography. A versatile cast, led by Gemma Sutton and Tim Rogers, double, triple and even quadruple roles while singing their hearts out and dancing up a storm. Fredericks deftly transposes the action from the 1880s to the 1930s, which works especially well when Julie’s best friend Carrie (a delicious Vicki Lee Taylor) cites her fiancé’s belief: “A man who can’t find work these days is just bone lazy,” a particularly callous remark in the Great Depression.
The Express ★★★★
Morphic Graffiti's intimate and thoroughly sensitive production not only shows incredible creativity, but also manages to unearth a simple honesty and rawness which cements it as a definitive reworking . This is without a doubt a beautiful and sensitive re-imagining of one of the most perfectly constructed musicals ever written. Seeing this up close and stripped back allows the story to unfold in a brand new and thoroughly compelling way. Morphic Graffiti's production is the most confident, yet respectful, fringe musical I've seen this year, and a perfect example of the talent and creativity that exists away from the commercial lights of the West End.
London ★★★★★
But it’s the intimate scenes that really stick in the memory – the touchingly drawn Carrie-Mr Snow relationship running in tandem with Julie and Billy’s turbulent affair, and, after the devastating staging of Billy’s death, his brief, redemptive return from Heaven to Earth acquires a grandeur that made the Arcola seem vast. Dominating the show is Tim Rogers’s magnificent, brooding Billy, a chippy, volatile outsider with a voice and stage-presence of boundless intensity – his ghostly entry into the finale’s reprise of ‘If I loved you’ was a tear-jerking masterstroke, and he had bluster and tenderness to spare in the great ‘Soliloquy’. The reduction of the score, with a central, finely played part for harp, only enhanced the beauty of Richard Rodgers’s melodies. It’s unmissable.
Classical Source
Never has Carousel (1945) seemed so fresh and poignant and vital, but on a scale that is profoundly human. What a pleasure it is to list the things that Luke Fredericks’s production for Morphic Graffiti has got right. Stewart Charlesworth’s fluid and playful design of both set and costumes is ingenious, for a start. Lee Proud’s choreography is consistently joyous and even pulls off the almost impossible task of making that hard-work second-half ballet scene appear essential rather than inevitable. And the singing! The ensemble makes such a mellifluous sound, headed confidently by the three outstanding leads. At £21 per ticket, this is surely one of the best theatrical deals in town. Fiona Mountford
Evening Standard ★★★★★
One of the many things this vibrant adaptation of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s ‘Carousel’ gets absolutely right is the allure of the circus. Ingeniously staged and choreographed, it’s a mysterious netherworld beckoning young Maine millworker Julie Jordan into the arms of baker Billy Bigelow In the end, it’s the sheer humanity and big-heartedness of this production that carries you along with it. From a joyfully cheeky ‘June is Bustin’ Out All Over’ to a tear-inducing reprise of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, the supremely talented ensemble cast hit all the right notes. You’ll be far from dry eyed as you step off this ‘Carousel’. Tom Wicker
Time Out ★★★★
Morphic Graffiti got their hands on it, bringing a grittier, sexier and much darker take to Dalston’s Arcola Theatre. What could be a run-of-the-mill production of an old favourite, has become a first class lesson in how to reinvigorate a show for a fresh audience. Seductive, bold and spine-tinglingly emotional might not be the first set of phrases that enter your head when you think of Carousel, but they will when you catch this stellar show. Don’t miss the fun at this fair. You’ll regret it.
So So Gay ★★★★★
It is a bold and brave move from the off-West End company Morphic Graffiti to stage such a huge show in such an intimate setting –a move that is incredibly exciting to see unfolding magically before your eyes, as the stories of Julie, Carrie and their fellow workers and lovers are artfully woven into a story of love, loss and redemption. Under Luke Fredericks’s direction a difficult task has become a fantastic spectacle, with every element of Carousel blending to create a surging river of a production. With this, only their third production, Morphic Graffiti are fast establishing themselves as a mainstay of London musical theatre: they are definitely one to watch.
A Younger Theatre
Morphic Graffiti put on a show full of high kicks and high notes, with an enthusiastic cast not afraid to bring the out the joy in a show that left many with a weepy eye come the climax. This was a stunning production, music, performers, set and all. ★★★★★
A favourite musical for many, a new production of Carousel opened at the Arcola Theatre last night. Making the most of this intimate venue, with astounding up-close choreography, this is a high energy affair that does wonders to work the big scale of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s masterpiece within a small space. Director Luke Fredericks has a clear grasp of the fantasy within Carousel. The overture is used to establish the fairytale atmosphere with an interesting air of danger surrounding a trip to the fairground. Let’s be honest, the love story of “bad un” Billy Bigelow and the innocent Julie isn’t that believable, so adding a surreal touch is clever, especially for later scenes set in the ‘backyard of heaven’. Best of all is Lee Proud’s choreography, with a stirring combative streak and a use of circus skills that is inspired. So close is the action you might feel a little nervous if you are on the front row. Rest easy with the wonderful score, which soars under Andrew Corcoran’s musical direction. Here the coup is the presence of a harpist, squeezed onto a platform above the action, sure to please Carousel connoisseurs.
The London
A ‘Carousel’ that really moves…. As directed by Luke Fredericks, with choreography by Lee Proud, “Carousel” becomes a rhapsody in the restlessness of being young, oversexed and confused. Stewart Charlesworth’s ingenious, rough-poetry set presents all the world as a shabby but colorful fun fair through which a harsher reality is always visible. No one feels more lost in this world than Billy Bigelow (played with unappeasable anger by Tim Rogers), a carnival barker who loses his job when he falls for a factory worker named Julie Jordan (the stoically centered Gemma Sutton). When these two sing “If I Loved You,” perhaps the greatest ballad ever of reluctant attraction, you can feel the shared pride and antagonism that both draws them together and divides them. I’ve seldom seen a more convincingly kinetic version. Fumbling embraces here quickly turn into wrestling matches. And, yes, when a man is as at odds with himself as Billy is, a kiss and a slap are perversely interchangeable.
New York Times - Ben Brantley
Tim Rogers’ standout performance as Billy Bigelow perfectly encapsulates the various aspects of the tragic hero’s complicated character – unpleasant and emotionally torn, yet self-sacrificial and ultimately reformed. His interpretation of ‘Soliloquy’, and the final reprise of ‘If I Loved You’ are truly moving. Amanda Minihan’s intimate performance of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ has an element of the ethereal as her voice soars to the song’s climax, matched only by its a cappella ensemble reprise during the graduation scene. At times emotional, at times ebullient, but always entertaining, this is without doubt a must-see production.
Musical Theatre Review
While, on the one hand, performers invest their roles with such sincerity they feel emotionally true, on the other there is framing of stylisation that wraps the whole production in theatre magic. It helps a critique of class privilege sit easily alongside bringing stars down from heaven. The trick is the way that Frederick, Charlesworth and Proud handle what Rodgers and Hammerstein provided instead of an overture: the "Carousel Waltz". Following a 1945 prologue of Julie remembering her first encounter with Billy, her dreamlike recollection of the whirl of the fairground is conjured up not with a real roundabout and scenery but a choreographic montage of elements that present its circus-like characters, the acrobats and the contortionists, the strong man, the bearded lady and fire eater, the tights, leotards, spangles and feathers and a glimpse of the whirling machinery, the galloping horses. It is a production that has its feet on the ground as well as its head in the stars and it is all so enormously enjoyable that you forgive the contrivance to make things come right in the end.
British Theatre Guide
… a thrilling sense of abandon. But Carousel is worth a visit just to witness Gemma Sutton’s understated and affecting performance of Julie as a tender-hearted yet defiant young woman dedicated to her wayward husband. Handed a series of bleeding-heart numbers she manages to convey emotion without melodrama, her voice even bringing audience members in the front row to tears.
Hackney Citizen
With the audience seated on three sides of this steeply raked auditorium, Lee Proud’s choreography is thrilling throughout, making imaginative use of the small space, and it hardly matters that the dancers are not always step perfect. Circus performers ascend ladders to the upper levels of Stewart Charlesworth’s simple sets and Susie Porter leads the company to dance the long second act ballet beautifully. It is a rare treat these days to hear a musical performed without electronic amplification and Richard Rodgers’ lovely melodies lose very little from being played by a small acoustic band. The singing, mostly excellent, has a crispness that allows Hammerstein’s lyrics to be appreciated fully. Fredericks’ lively production runs for a full three hours, indicating that he has not shied away from any of the challenges that scaling down this show presents. Like the fairground attraction of the title, revivals of Carousel come around at regular intervals, but here we have one that is fresh and distinctive, breathing new life into a timeless classic.
The Public Review ★★★★