Doctor Syn and The Scarecrow

Dr Syn & The Scarecrow (aka The Scarecrow Musical) is now available as a double CD from Talking Elephant Records.  Alternatively I can mail you a copy for £12 + postage.  Please contact me on info@chris-lea.co.uk.  It is also available on ITunes and Spotify.  The album represents a mixture of material reworked from the 2012 Scarecrow project and brand new songs.  The result is a two hour musical marking the life and times of Russell Thorndike's infamous clergyman and the smugglers of Dymchurch and Romney Marsh.  A synopsis of the storyline is as follows:

 Dr Syn & The Scarecrow synopsis

Turn to the next page to see the script and song lyrics.

Charlotte Cobtree aka Curlew

What do the Reviews say?

"This is a finely wrought piece of work...A lovely 'musical adventure with smugglers'".

Kathy and Bob Drage, Around Kent Magazine

"Chris Lea's conception is truly breath-taking in its scope and originality.  He creates an atmosphere that is sometimes dark and dramatic and other times quaint and amusing, while all the while holding the listeners attention.  I can visualise Doctor Syn and The Scarecrow being performed live on stage with all the characters dressed in appropriate costumes.  Well recommended".

Arthur Prosser, Kent Jazz Folk Magazine

Act 1

Captain Clegg's 'Quaint Old Capstan Song   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iM5vkSt0d9c

Scarecrow's Leap   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzcYi0tSWBU

Romney Marsh   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORyu9jDve1Y

The Tub Carrier   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8G4-CwTmaQ

Mr Mipps   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xU3MnAiaT-E

The Ghost of Captain Clegg   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQiJF5rSBT8

The City of London   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s/a1jtdVKJU

The Scarecrow Rides Tonight   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umhMNMf-o8s

A Girl Could Fall   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOYbwE8cv58

What Kind of Man is this   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRgoDmRSUcs

Another Time Gentlemen   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkQ3tyjIsdo

Act 2

Captain Clegg's Quaint Old Capstan Song Reprise   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IR2Ok5s1a-U

Sir Henry Pembury   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQskkiWINJQ

Mr Brackenbury's Engagement   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZsWvf7PYGz4

A Gazetted Man   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4oVS-sxOHtM

Brazlett's Departure   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1oEgKYcbmvg

The Widow of Bonnington Part 1   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FYxebUCeTw

The Raid on Poole Quay   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B56PnC8IA9Q

The Widow of Bonnington Part 2   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOVckcEkcNg

Like Penelope - Introduction   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDvZrubaEwA

Like Penelope   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbVdluCO0w8

The Four Hadleys   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cNqa1Glbr0

The Scarecrow Rides Tonight Reprise   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4GvGtGOUs

The original Scarecrow CD merged a mixture of song and prose, fact and fiction, relating to 'The Golden Age of Smuggling' in Romney Marsh and further afield.  Scarecrow was released to coincide with the 2012 Dymchurch Day of Syn Festival, and excerpts from the album were performed at Dr. Syn's local, The Ship Inn, during the festival.  CDs of both Dr Syn & The Scarecrow and Scarecrow  are available together for £16 including postage (for UK). Please contact me for more information.

Scarecrow

The album Scarecrow is available as a double CD.  It can be purchased for £5 + £1 for postage.  Please contact me at info@chris-lea.co.uk  It is a musical narrative based on the Doctor Syn novels of Russell Thorndike and accounts of smuggling in the 18th century. 

Chris transports us to Dymchurch in the 18th century.  We meet the smugglers who worked there and through Chris's narrative and music along with stunning vocals by Samantha Rush and Brian Withstandley and Chris Lea,  Russell Thorndike's characters seem so much more real than they ever had before.

"A good piece of work that would enhance any festival stage".

 Around Kent Folk Magazine:


Smuggling had a major cultural and economic impact on the England of the 18th and early 19th century.  It also inspired the country's first masked super-hero: The Scarecrow.  Russell Thorndike in his Doctor Syn novels, written between 1915 and 1944, tells of a well loved and respected vicar of Dymchurch by day, who becomes a feared spectral smuggler leader by night.  This musical narrative centres on some of the key stories from the life and times of the Scarecrow, at the same time giving commentary to the actual legal and cultural landscape of the time.

The album sees the welcome return of the DOABOS Band (The Dog on a bit of String Band) performing together for the first time since 2005:  Chris is joined by Samantha Rush on vocals, Jennie Trevillion on flute, Peter Bundell on vocals and narrator, and Eggibred partner Stephen Skey on vocals and Bouzouki.  It has also been an enormous pleasure working with Mr Skey's other group - Kent's own 'Swinging The Lead' shanty crew:  Brian Withstandley, Peter Brooker, Joe Whittaker, Dave Webb and of course Stephen Skey.

Actor and shanty singer Brian Withstandley takes on the character of ex-pirate turned sexton Mr Mipps, bringing life to Chris's songs, along with describing the landscape of the times. 

The album contains 16 original songs with a number of spoken pieces set against music and soundscapes by Chris. 

Track List - Act One

1. Captain Clegg's Quaint Old Capstan Song -  (Lyrics: Russell Thorndike, Music: Chris Lea)  Russell Thorndike's pirate song put to music.

2. Scarecrow's Leap - (Chris Lea)  The Scarecrow appears to leap from a tower at Dover Castle and fly away.  Chris and Samantha Rush on vocals, and featuring Brian Withstandley as Mr Mipps.

3. Romney Marsh - (Chris Lea)  An introduction to the place and times, featuring Brian Withstandley as Mr Mipps and Jennie Trevillion on flute.

4. Poor Men Made Good - (Chris Lea) Commentary on how smuggling came about.

5. The Tub Carrier of Deal - (Chris Lea & Stephen Skey)  Through the eyes of a smuggler from Deal.  In the 1780s Deal was branded as 'the worst smuggling town in the land' by the then Prime Minister who declared war on the town by ordering the burning of the town's fishing boats.  Featuring Stephen Skey on Bouzouki.

6. Honest Living - (Chris Lea) Commentary on the economic effects of smuggling.

7. Mr Mipps - (Chris Lea)  We are formally introduced to Mr Mipps, a man of many parts; featuring Brian Withstandley as Mr Mipps.

8. The Ghost of Captain Clegg - (Chris Lea)  How Dr Syn returned home and became again Vicar of Dymchurch.  Featuring Peter Brooker as The Good Doctor.

9. The City of London - (Chris Lea)   Mr Mipps carries on the story with the re-naming of The Sea Wall Tavern.

10. The Scarecrow Rides Tonight - (Chris Lea)  How The Scarecrow was born and became leader of The Romney Marsh Smugglers.  Featuring the whole cast.

11. Representatives of the Law - (Chris Lea)  Commentary on the law enforcement of the day.

Act Two

1. Captain Clegg's Quaint Old Capstan Song Reprise -  (Lyrics: Russell Thorndike, Music: Chris Lea) Performed by Swinging The Lead Shanty Crew.

2. The Smuggler Gang - (Chris Lea)  Commentary on The Hawkhurst Gang, the antipathies of The Scarecrow in reputation and business dealings. 

3. The Raid on Poole Quay - (Chris Lea)  Probably the one time when The Hawkhurst Gang did not kill anyone.  Featuring Jennie Trevillion on Flute.

4. Other Gangs - (Chris Lea)   Commentary on other smuggler gangs of the time, showing similarities to the dealings of The Scarecrow. 

5. What Kind of Man Is This? - (Chris Lea)  Featuring Samantha Rush on vocals.  Charlotte Cobtree expresses her feelings for Doctor Syn.

6. Mr Brackenbury's Engagement - (Chris Lea)  Featuring Peter Bundell as Sir Henty Pembury, Brian Withstandley as Mr Mipps, Peter Brooker as the Good Doctor and Jennie Trevillion on Flute.  Dr Syn shows his romantic side in helping a young couple get engaged and play a prank on the Lord of Lympne Castle.

7. Penalties and Smuggler Justice - (Chris Lea)  Commentary on falling foul of the authorities and the smugglers.

8. Stranger at The Ship - Brazlett's Departure - Ribbons and Petticoats - (Chris Lea)  Featuring Brian, Sam and Peter Brooker on vocals.  Brazlett meets with smuggler justice.

9. The Widow of Bonnington - The Ransley Trial - (Chris Lea)  Featuring Samantha Rush as Widow Ransley and Peter Brooker as Doctor Syn.  The Scarecrow brings Ransley to trial but Doctor Syn gets him off.

10. The Press Gang - (Chris Lea)  Commentary on the curse of coastal communities.

11. Like Penelope - (Chris Lea)  Featuring Samantha Rush on lead vocals and Stephen Skey on Bouzouki and backing vocals.  'Like Penelope she waits...'  on the return of her man taken by the press gang.

12. The Four Hadleys - (Chris Lea)  Featuring Swinging The Lead Shanty Crew.  The Scarecrow press gangs the press gang.

13. The Scarecrow Rides Tonight Reprise - (Chris Lea) Featuring the whole cast.. The Scarecrow shows his power over the authorities and the the press gangs are banished from the area for ever.

14. War - (Chris Lea) Commentary on the effects of war with France on smuggling.

15. The Epilogue - (Chris Lea) The legacy from those times.

To hear an excerpt from The Raid on Poole Quay  please click on this link: http://youtu.be/bHL7-bi5Xbs

To view an animated version of Mr Brackenbury's Engagement please click on:

http://youtu.be/zpDhHxc6OYs