A new British musical called The Go-Between is coming to the West End in May. This is exciting news and yet a little intriguing because not many people have heard of it until now. What is it about? Who’s in it? What’s its target audience? We have the answers…
At this point, I must declare an interest. My father, the playwright David Wood, has adapted the novel for the stage and co-written the lyrics with the composer Richard Taylor. Director Roger Haines completes the creative team. The project began back in 2002 and it’s testament to the trio’s dedication and hard work that it will soon be appearing on the London stage.
Tell me more about The Go-Between musical…
The show is a musical adaptation of the 1953 novel by L.P Hartley; a beautiful and sad story of forbidden love, betrayal and tragic naivety. It’s set in Norfolk in the early Edwardian era – Downton Abbey territory!
“During a scorching summer in 1900, an episode traumatises a boy called Leo on his thirteenth birthday, thwarting his emotional development for ever……….in the musical, some fifty years later, the elderly Leo reflects on his apparently unfulfilled life, by finding and opening the diary kept by his boyhood self…………from its pages rise ghosts of the past, his school friend, Marcus who invites him to spend the holidays at his grand Norfolk home; Marcus’s beautiful sister, Marian, whom Leo comes to adore; the disfigured Viscount Trimingham, who hopes to marry her; and the virile tenant farmer, Ted, with whom Marian is conducting an illicit, socially catastrophic affair. Leo’s unwitting part in the lovers’ secret as the messenger (the go-between), between them, draws him into a world of dangerous adult passions and intrigue……” (David Wood)
It sounds familiar…
Perhaps you have seen the famous film (1971), with a screenplay by Harold Pinter. Or maybe you enjoyed the BBC adaptation last year?
Musical aficionados will know that this musical adaptation, having been developed in association with Perfect Pitch, was co-produced in 2011 by West Yorkshire Playhouse, Royal & Derngate Northampton and Derby Live so, though it is new to London, it has enjoyed a short and successful run previously.
What did the critics think of the 2011 premiere?
The reviews were extremely positive and full of praise for the production.
★★★★★ The Daily Telegraph
★★★★ The Times
★★★★ The Guardian
“This multifaceted gem packs a singular emotional punch.” The Observer
“A musical of tender, aching reticence…” Mark Shenton
It also won the award for Best Musical Production at the Theatre Awards UK, beating Sweeney Todd (starring Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton) that was hotly anticipated to win.
Who’s in it?
Musical legend Michael Crawford (Barnum, The Phantom of the Opera, The Wizard of Oz) will play the role of Leo Colston, the central character. He shares his passion and enthusiasm for the show in this recent interview for BroadwayWorld.com. More cast members will be announced soon.
How would you describe the style of the show?
The Go-Between is not a conventional musical in the all-singing, all-dancing sense. Richard Taylor’s sophisticated score artfully blends dialogue and music, taking influences from classical music and operetta. His writing is infused with sumptuous melodies. A song called Butterfly is a beautiful ballad from the show. Listen to it here!
The actors are both characters and storytellers, thus giving the show an ensemble feel. The choreography, lighting, sound and music join forces to create an exciting musical drama that feels fresh and innovative.
Who will it appeal to?
Theatregoers who enjoy musicals and want to experience one that is intimate with a strong narrative and a little bit different. People who are familiar with the story and curious to see how it will be performed will be drawn to it. Plus I expect Michael Crawford fans will be keen to see him on stage again too!
Want to see it for yourself?
The Go-Between’s journey from conception to the West End stage has taken fourteen years. Audiences have just twenty weeks to see it at the Apollo Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue from 27 May.
Buy Tickets for The Go-Between today and experience the magic!
31 Shaftesbury Avenue
London W1D 7ES
Post by Katherine Wood. Katherine is a theatre professional with many years experience in the West End. She was a part of the team responsible for the success of Kids Week in the West End and regular contributor to fromtheboxoffice.com