StageDoor App very kindly arranged for a ‘LDNTheatreBloggers outing to see the new British Musical, The Go-Between. The Go-Between is a musical based on P J Hartley’s novel.
The Go-Between tells of loss of innocence of the main character Leo. We follow him over the course of one summer as he becomes the ‘postman’ between the beautiful and upper class Marian and the local farmer Ted, despite Marian’s engagement to Trimingham. Leo is shadowed throughout the show by his older self, with the characters often turning to urge him to remember his difficult past.
I have to confess I did not love the piece in so far none of the music really gripped me and there were no hooks, I would in fact struggle to sing you any of the music less than 24 hours later. The music was performed on piano alone and whilst for some numbers this worked well at times I would have liked some strings added for a bit more depth and emotion.
Whilst the story itself was intriguing, the affair as viewed through a child’s eyes, I just didn’t invest in Marian’s and Ted’s relationship enough nor really got to grips as to why this effected the young Leo so much.
That being said I adored the staging and the direction by Roger Haines. Frequent symbology was used throughout the piece from coathangers being birds and then turning swiftly into a display of clothing, the appearance of flowers during a walk in the garden and the effective movement of chairs by the cast. This produced a feel of surrealism, appropriate considering the fact that we were viewing this story as a memory of the older Leo. I also appreciated the casts near presence on stage when not being used in the immediate action, often just sat with a back turned or by the entrance way. Again it helped create the feeling that all of these people were on the edge of Leo’s memory urging him to continue to remember.
The performances were strong by the whole cast although Luka Green played the young Leo deserves a special mention. He fitted perfectly for the part with wide eyed innocence and his willingness to please Marian was easy to believe. He spent nearly the whole show on stage and is a large part for anyone to carry, let alone a 12 year old and he did so with remarkable apparent ease.
Gemma Sutton played Marian and from the off, her aura was one that had me easily convinced that she had all these men (and boys) falling at her feet. Stuart Ward played Ted, with what can only be described as a memorable entrance (him topless after a swim). Again when it becomes apparent that Marian had fallen for him there was no doubt that this was entirely believable despite their class differences.
I have to mention the ‘star’ of The Go-Between, Michael Crawford….. Michael played Colston i.e. the older Leo and did so with a gentle and sensitive touch. I found that he got outshone by the actors around him but this is possible that for most part he was an onlooker for the main action.
This is a difficult piece to give a star rating to but I have settled on a 3 star review. I would describe the set, the direction and the creative vision behind it as a solid 4 star show however the show itself, in particular the music a 2 star show, thus arriving at an overall 3 stars.
The Go-Between is running until 15th October 2016 at the Apollo.