Daniel Martin takes on his first role with Harrogate's Phoenix Players

Ever since King David saw Bathsheba bathing and could not control his desire for her it seems that beautiful women have been the downfall of powerful men.
Taking on the challenging role of antagonist Dom Claude Frollo is Daniel MartinTaking on the challenging role of antagonist Dom Claude Frollo is Daniel Martin
Taking on the challenging role of antagonist Dom Claude Frollo is Daniel Martin

Politicians and celebrities have, through the centuries, been embroiled in sex scandals that shook the world and ended careers. But an Archdeacon? Surely not.

Dom Claude Frollo, the Archdeacon of Notre Dame in the Harrogate Phoenix Players' production of the Hunchback of Notre Dame, falls under the spell of the enchanting gypsy Esmeralda.

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In public he denounces her as a witch and a temptation sent by the devil but privately, he becomes obsessed with her and resolves to have her whatever the cost.

We already have little sympathy for this man who reluctantly cares for his deformed nephew Quasimodo, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, and keeps him hidden in the bell tower.

There he is a virtual prisoner with only stone gargoyles for friends and deafened by the sound of the bells.

He argues his actions are to protect Quasimodo from the cruelty and ridicule he suffers in the world outside. Do we believe him? Not one bit.

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Taking on the role of antagonist Dom Claude Frollo is Daniel Martin. Although Daniel has an impressive theatrical CV with other choirs and societies, this is his first show with the Phoenix Players.

He was encouraged to join by Iain Harvey who plays the dashing Captain Phoebus and their rivalry for Esmeralda's affections has devastating consequences.

With his commanding stage presence and powerful voice, Daniel is perfect in the role of the tormented priest who struggles to reconcile his spiritual beliefs with his carnal lusts.

The internal conflict prompts the song Hellfire, which has been described as one of the best Disney villain songs of all time.

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While Frollo prays to the Virgin Mary, pleading to be saved from the temptations of Esmeralda, for which accepts no responsibility, the priests sing parts of the Confiteor, a Latin prayer of confession used by the Roman Catholic Church.

Kyrie Eleison – Lord Have Mercy – sings the choir.

With his eternal soul at risk, will Frollo turn away from inevitable downfall and damnation or force the story to its heart-stopping conclusion?

The musical is based on Victor Hugo’s novel of the same name which was turned into the 1939 film with Oscar-winning Charles Laughton as Quasimodo and Maureen O’Hara as Esmeralda.

Sir Cedric Hardwicke played Frollo and Alan Marshal as Phoebus.

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The Hunchback of Notre Dame will be presented by the Phoenix Players at Harrogate Theatre from Wednesday, March 20 to Saturday, March 23.

Performances are daily at 7.30pm and a matinee on the Saturday at 2.30pm.

The Harrogate Phoenix Players are sponsored by Rudding Park and Simon Graeme Auto Services and are proud to be supporting Martin House Children’s Hospice.

Tickets are on sale at www.harrogatetheatre.co.uk or 01423 502116.

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