Search

The Go Between, Apollo Theatre, review: ‘Has all the right ingredients but songs let it down’

PUBLISHED: 17:45 13 June 2016

Gemma Sutton, William Thompson and Michael Crawford in The Go Between.  Credit: Johan Persson

Gemma Sutton, William Thompson and Michael Crawford in The Go Between. Credit: Johan Persson

Johan Persson

“The past is a foreign country,” said author LP Hartley – and so too is this musical in comparison to its beautiful source material.

Based on the novel, it tells the story of elderly Leo Colston in 1950 as he reflects on a Norfolk summer 50 years ago when aged 12, he acted as the “go between” for two illicit lovers: upper class Marian Maudsley (the radiant Gemma Sutton) and lowly tenant farmer Ted Burgess (Stuart Ward - who shows off his rather toned torso at one point).

It’s a powerful, and ultimately tragic, story of doomed love, and its complicated time structure must have made it a challenge for Richard Taylor and David Woods to adapt successfully.

But they overcame the hurdle well, with musical theatre legend Michael Crawford as pensioner Leo remaining on stage for almost the entire show as he watches and remembers the three weeks that shaped his future.

Crawford can no longer punch those high notes quite as he did, but his voice is still in excellent shape and he’s the perfect fit for the haunted old Leo.

The staging, too, works well - at once reminiscent of adult Leo’s dusty, overgrown attic, and grand house Brandham Hall in 1900.

The decision to eschew orchestration for a single piano on stage is also masterful, and very fitting for this melancholic story.

It had all the ingredients, then, for an instant classic.

But sadly, it is not, and there is really only one reason for this: the music.

Throughout this 2 hour and 20 minute show, it is impossible to tell when one song ends and another begins. It is all sing-spiel - that dearth of musical theatre.

The one exception is ‘Butterfly’ - a soaring, but repetitive and clichéd number from Crawford as he watches naive little Leo (played superbly by William Thompson on our night) grow in confidence in Marian’s company.

But as the minutes and hours drag on, you can’t help but wonder: why on earth are they singing?

The power of the original story gets you through it, but with tickets on sale for up to £101, my advice would be: save your money.

Rating: 2/5 stars

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Islington Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Islington Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Islington Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Islington Entertainment Stories

Yesterday, 15:57

Upper Street’s famous King’s Head Theatre pub could move into a “trendy neighbourhood bar” for more than 18 months until its new site is ready, a new report reveals.

Thu, 11:10

Five star review for English National Ballet’s showcase of American dance

Wed, 15:37

Emma Bartholomew and her family visit Hot Stone in Chapel Market where you cook your main course on sizzling slabs of volcanic magma

Mon, 10:55

“Perhaps only in Britain could one succeed in writing a thriller about the weather,” observed David Haig who both wrote and stars in this little-known true story about D-Day.

PROMOTED CONTENT

“I try and do my best to enhance the young person’s capabilities. I’m very focused on their education, their wellbeing and their cultural needs.”

Breaking News

Yesterday, 10:07

Arsene Wenger is to leave Arsenal at the end of the season, which will end an association of more than two decades with the North London giants.

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read entertainment

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now