In a lonely little corner of little England, Jack and Jill appear to us with a problem. The famous duo informs us that there is a monster nearby, a Miniaturist, who lives in isolation, preying upon children and those alone after dark. They reassure us he is a threat that needs dealing with and that they are up to the challenge, and to trust them as they set off on their adventure to slay the monster.
But the Miniaturist isn't what they said - a quiet man, a conscientious man, living alone and building a model world in miniature in his home. When Jack and Jill arrive, professing to need help, he lets them in, only for the fairy tale pair to attack him and knock him out with their trusty hammers. They subject him to threats, to insults, to violence and to seemingly impossible riddles as they expose who he really is - a gay man, shunned and alone, having fled a society that rejects him and those he would love.
As Jack and Jill delight in exposing all of his secrets, the quiet man explodes with anger, turning their riddles against them and mercilessly beating them to death with their own hammers. The Miniaturist, realising that the bigots and monsters will seek him out even here, resolves to leave behind his isolation and refuses to hide away anymore. Amidst the shattered remains of his little England, Jack and Jill rise again in laughter to claim this had been their goal all along - that their violent actions were charitable, necessary, and wholly English.
As they cheerily wave us goodbye, they assure us it will not be long before their 'services' are required again...
Little England would have had its opening night in Milton Court Studio Theatre, London, on 8th June 2020. The staging had to be cancelled due to the pandemic. Over the following months this recording was painstakingly put together, primarily from recordings made by the performers in their own homes during various lockdowns. It has been a labour of love and I hope you enjoy mine and Gareth's darkly comedic, twisted, queer fable.
- Mark Bowler, July 2022
released July 15, 2022
Music – Mark Bowler
Libretto – Gareth Mattey
Jack – Nathan Mercieca
Jill – Shakira Tsindos
The Miniaturist – Andrew Randall
Flute / Piccolo – Enlli Parri
Clarinet / Bass Clarinet – Raymond Brien
Trumpet – Tom Kearsey
Piano – Natalie Burch
Percussion – Aidan Marsden
Violin – Lara Agar
Cello – Polly Bowler
Character design and artwork – Sam Haynes
Amalgamated, mixed and mastered by Mark Bowler at One Glass Eye Studios, 2020-2022
Special thanks to Matthew King, Julian Philips, and James Alexander at Guildhall School of Music & Drama.