Music and songs for theatre
DEAN is a musical based on the life of the Hollywood actor James Dean.The book was written by Dean biographer John Howlett who was co-author of the film If..., one of my favourite films. I wrote the songs for the show. It was first produced at the London Casino theatre (now the Prince Edward theatre) in 1977 and was subsequently produced by the all-female Takarazuka Revue company in Japan in 1980, 1991, 1992 and 1999.
'Dean is better than just the routine backstage musical. For this, much of the credit goes to Robert Campbell, who has written some vibrant songs that range from the tender to the punchy.'
MILTON SHULMAN, THE EVENING STANDARD
The Children's Crusade
& By Common Consent
These two youth theatre plays with songs were created for a large cast of 50-70 young people. Written by Paul Thompson and directed by Ron Daniels, both plays were originally performed by the National Youth Theatre 'in the round' at the London Cockpit Theatre. I wrote and performed the music for the songs and acted as musical director. The original production of The Children's Crusade included a young Daniel Day-Lewis in the cast. The production of By Common Consent was also shown on BBC television. Since then the plays have been regularly performed by schools in the UK and around the world.
'This wonderful production really justifies the National Youth Theatre.'
CHARLES LEWSEN, THE TIMES
'And the music, by singer/songwriter-to-watch Robert Campbell, is bloody marvellous.'
JIM HILEY, TIME OUT
'It is one of the best short plays I have ever seen ... Beautiful writing, memorable images ... Fine music for Mr. Bond's lyrics has been written by Robert Campbell who sings and plays the guitar together with Tom Robinson.'
MICHAEL COVENEY, THE FINANCIAL TIMES
Edward Bond wrote Stone in 1976 for the Gay Sweatshop theatre group at the ICA theatre in London. The play included several songs for which I wrote the music. The play, which was directed by Gerald Chapman, told the story of a man who spends his life on a journey with a small pebble that grows larger each day. The cast included Kevin Elyot who went on to write My Night with Reg, and Antony Sher who went on to become a hugely successful actor. I performed the music together with Tom Robinson who went on to ... etc.
The Motor Show & Dick
A play by Steve Gooch with song lyrics written with Paul Thompson, I wrote and performed the music for The Motor Show which was staged at the Half Moon Theatre and at the Dagenham Ford plant for Community Theatre. As Steve Gooch describes on his website, the show borrowed elements of vaudeville and music-hall, telling in short, fast-moving scenes the history of the Ford Motor Company in Dagenham and its struggle with the trades unions. The production featured the talented Ken Morley (left, glasses) described as 'the funniest man in London' by one reviewer.
From the same creative team came Dick, a Christmas show loosely based on the exploits of Dick Turpin, the famous English highwayman. It starred Michael Irving and Maurice Colbourne, founders of the Half Moon Theatre.
'... and best of all, catchy musical music from Robert Campbell.'
ROSEMARY SAY, THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH
'Robert Campbell's tuneful guitar-and-piano songs also remind one there is no earthly reason why political theatre need exclude gaiety and charm.'
MICHAEL BILLINGTON, THE GUARDIAN
'Some smashing songs.'
JANET WATTS, THE GUARDIAN
Other shows that I've written the music for include McGonagall the Murderer and Jonathan Marshall's A Wet Winter's Night's Dream which was staged at the Bush Theatre in London. We also did a special performance at Brixton prison. I performed the music with Stephen Lipson and the show's cast included the playwright Royce Ryton.