Girl from the North Country
Noel Coward Theatre, London
Seen on January 10th, 2018
Reviewed by Jade Prince
Based in America on a run-down guesthouse during the Great Depression where everyone is staring their bleak future straight in the eye. Both the owner and his guests are either outcasts of society, have undesirable backgrounds or crumbling bridges within their relationships.
This show has a soundtrack comprised of numerous songs by Bob Dylan which is wonderful at complimenting the Great Depression vibe. The songs do not need modern instruments so the rustic band on stage also help to add to that feeling. I could truly imagine the actions on stage being carried out in real life by those living in the guesthouse.
I can’t say that the story thrilled me and captivated me for the whole duration. Act 1 was average however I felt that act 2 slowed down a lot. Many of the people around me seemed to enjoy the story with just a few commenting on the speed. It just didn’t really seem to be going anywhere.
The vocals from that cast were insane! So beautiful. Those harmonies were stunning. I really like the way that no ‘booth singers’ were used and that the ensemble members not on stage came out when harmonies were needed. The focus was never on them at these points during the show. They normally helped accompany the small band with some tambourines or shakers.
I adored the smooth transitions from scene to scene during the musical numbers. This was breathtaking and so subtle. They weren’t drastic changes; a few back drops flew in, cast members adding and removing furniture. That was a really nice touch. Whilst the cast were performing they were effortlessly lifting tables into the wings and helping with this transition before they faded away into the wings awaiting their next scene.
I feel really bad highlighting one performer when everybody else was also fabulous however I was blown away by Shirley Henderson’s (Elizabeth Laine) performance. I was not expecting that voice and she handled her character with so much respect. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to portray a character with dementia but she did it very tastefully.
The vocals for this show really won it. That is probably the only reason I am giving this four stars. Thankfully there were enough songs throughout which definitely distracted me from the poor storyline. It could so easily be five stars if the story was worked on.
This is definitely one that I will be wanting to see again to see if they is anything else I take from the show. If not for this reason, simply to hear the numbers again because they were all truly stunning. It has been a long time since I’ve seen a cast where every member is vocally outstanding!
Girl from the North Country has just opened at Noel Coward Theatre and is booking until March 24th, 2018. More information on tickets and the show itself can be found at https://www.londontheatre.co.uk/show/girl-from-the-north-country