Apollo Theatre, London – until 15 October 2016
Michael Crawford returns to the London stage to star as Leo Colston, a man who is still haunted by events that took place fifty years ago…
What would you do if you were made to deliver secret messages between two people who are in love but couldn’t publicly declare it? What would happen if you were just as responsible for their secret as they were? What if you were only a child used in an adult’s game?
These questions are at the centre of The Go-Between, which has recently opened at the Apollo Theatre and the latest Theatre Bloggers and Stagedoor outing, which sees Michael Crawford make a welcome return to the London stage.
Michael Pavelka’s atmospheric and eery set design, gives the impression that the audience is just as trapped in Leo’s mind (everything is told from his point of view) as the character is, making it an incredibly focused piece of drama.
However, the main issues with the production directed by Roger Haines is that it takes far too long for the real story to begin. It seems as though there is too much scene setting and the all the audience gets to begin with is flash images of characters and what is happening – particularly in the first act. The other slight problem is that despite the strength of the songs and music (wonderfully performed on the piano by Nigel Lilley), the songs feel awkwardly placed in the context of of the story.
But there is still some strengths to the production that are really worth mentioning. The first is the excellent performance of Luka Green, who delivers a lively and charismatic performance consistently – a huge achievement considering he is on stage for the majority of the performance. Leo’s naivety and innocence is increasingly dispelled as he is pulled further into the lovers secrets – and is a beautifully judged performance as a whole. The scene where he discusses ‘spooning’ with Ted (Stuart Ward) is both awkward and hilarious at the same time.
Samuel Menhinick and Luka Green. Photo by Helen Maybanks.
Of course many people who come to see The Go-Between will come to see Michael Crawford as Colston. His portrayal of a character who clearly is still struggling to deal with the consequences and the guilt of fifty years ago – is agonising but powerful to witness and I’m pleased to say that the vocals were still as top notch as ever.
There is a certain poignancy, particularly when Colston talks to his younger self – making the audience think of what they would say to their younger selves if they could do so with regards to some of the choices that we make, that make this a very thoughtful production.
The eeriness and simplicity of the production’s design and lighting, keeps the show understated – which can make it feel a bit lifeless and lacking in pace, dragging out the story in places, particularly in the first act.
It is a quiet and thoughtful musical that will not be to everybody’s taste and on reflection would perhaps make a stronger play than a musical, but it is a wonderful story that is expressed well by all of the cast.
Thanks to Theatre Bloggers and Stagedoor for helping to organise the evening!
The Go-Between is booking at the Apollo Theatre until the 15th October. To book tickets visit: Ticketmaster.co.uk, Discount Theatre.com, Last Minute.com, Theatre Tickets Direct.co.uk, Love Theatre.com, Theatre People.com and UK Tickets.co.uk.