Cockpit Theatre, London – until 28 October 2018
Guest reviewer: Amy Toledano
Scott Alan is a long-standing cult favourite amongst musical theatre enthusiasts and his most recent song cycle The Distance You Have Come weaves in his most popular numbers with some newer ones. But whilst this cast is stellar, the ‘story’ is a little bit of a stretch. It’s the songs and actors that make this show most enjoyable.
With an ensemble cast made up of wonderful talent, this show, vocally, absolutely flies and Alan has no problem allowing singers to push their voices to the absolute limit with astonishing results. But the space itself, whilst lovely, often has the audience losing things as it’s in-the-round stage often has actors with their backs to the audience, which doesn’t work for this type of show.
With minimal dialogue, this show tells its story through song. Whilst we understand some of the simpler ones (boy meets boy and falls in love, girl is a struggling actress, woman leaves her girlfriend in search of more), with such a big cast it is hard to keep up at times. There are also one or two complex stories that don’t read too well, like one of the characters struggling with alcohol abuse and spending an entire song in his pants being surrounded by people in masks.
The women in this show particularly shine, with Jodie Jacobs giving us colourful moments of absolute heartbreak followed by joy and hilarity. Alexia Khadime also stands out with fantastic vocals but not nearly enough stage time.
The second act really takes off and allows the characters to breathe in the space. We are given a real sense of who these people are without the fluff and forced storyline. Numbers such as ‘It’s Good To See You Again’ (Parts One and Two), ‘Love, Love, Love’ and ‘Just A Walk’ are heartwarming, simple and emotive, and stir the most reaction from the audience.
This show has moments that are a little melodramatic but succeeds in showing a wide range of people and relationships. It is clear that Alan’s style is an incredibly unique one that will keep audiences coming back to his shows.