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Michael Crawford is a legend of the West End. That's what made me want to see the Go-Between.
I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to go courtesy of London Theatre Bloggers and Stage Door London, what a treat!
I had no idea of the story. I knew there had been a story, but only because I had asked whether it was new or a revival... that was my level of knowledge.
I feel like my view of this show may have been slightly affected by the fact that I had extremely low expectations. I knew people who hadn't even made it to act 2 the previous night; and people who are usually extremely open minded and up for most things, at that. I was pretty much expecting to have to count sheep just to make it through.
This was honestly like nothing i have ever seen before. I don't even know what I thought of the show as a whole. Let's break this down.
The story, I could take or leave. Parts of it did hold my interest, but on the whole I thought that it was somewhat dragged out - by half past nine I was thinking that we really could have known what happened by now, had they just been a bit more concise. I guess that's the beauty of theatre, but I just wanted them to hurry up about it. Perhaps that says more about my opinion of the show than my star rating would suggest.
What, why am I talking about lighting. I don't know either. I noticed the lightning within 20 minutes of the show beginning - not something which I'm usually too hot on. It's the kind of thing that I notice if something goes wrong, or if something funny/deliberately noticeable is done, but it's not something which I am in any way knowledgeable about, so I kind of just let it happen. I really felt that it helped to tell the story and, as obvious as it sounds, meant that the audience focussed on the desired part of the production. When I say 'the audience', I actually mean me, and my incredible ability to be easily distracted.
Michael Crawford was always going to be the main point of contention here. Whilst always respecting his stature as a legend of the west end, and acknowledging that it is no mean feat to still be performing on the west end at his age, I haven't ever been a Michael Crawford 'superfan'. I assume they exist. He was just lovely. 'Wonderful' would be too strong, his voice definitely isn't comparable to the same man who originated the title role in The Phantom Of The Opera, but I actually thought his voice was perfect for the older, reflective character which he played.
Gemma Sutton was just wonderful. I'm told that technically her voice isn't perfect, but to the untrained ear, I couldn't fault it. Despite the verrrrrry high notes not being something which I would perhaps choose to listen to on a daily basis, I could have listened to her sing the whole story and enjoyed it.
The children were also great. I have seen many a talented child in the likes of Billy Elliot and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but I have never believed them like I believed Leo and Marcus. Despite having seen children who can dance and sing wonderfully, I've never seen them play such a huge part in a show single handedly, or act like they did in The Go-Between.
Stuart Ward's Ted was also worthy of note, but the other cast members left something to be desired. There also seemed to be a lot of them, all the time, and I wasn't really convinced that there needed to be.
Clever, but meh. I don't really have anything huge to say, it didn't blow me away. The lightning did most of the work, I felt! I did like that there was a piano on the stage though, which formed part of the set.
I almost forgot to include this as a category. Take from that what you will. It was strange. It sounded impressive in a 'that's probably really difficult to play and sing' way, but it didn't make me sit up in my seat and listen, and I did feel like it was a bit samey on occasions.
Overall it just felt disjointed. I think the fact that I couldn't make enough sense of it to write a full review without breaking it down into individual aspects probably says a lot. There were, as is hopefully evident, lots of fantastic elements. I just know that when I leave the theatre feeling relieved that I didn't pay a lot of money for my ticket, it probably wasn't wonderful. I feel that West End Wilma's 1 star rating was a little harsh (not that I've actually read the review), but I certainly won't be rushing back any time soon, hence my own three star rating.
The Go-Between starring Michael Crawford plays until October at the Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue.