Southwark Playhouse, London – until 29 June 2019
Nightmares and reality begin to blur as Nat, a talented fashion designer, is stalked by the figure of the Sandman, a character from her childhood mysteriously connected to her parent’s death… A show with a powerful message about the state of the world for young people today, and which sticks up its middle-finger to those who’s ever said that anyone has to suffer for their art.
Created in partnership with the BRIT School’s Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation Bridge Company, The Sandman is a brand new musical thriller written by Harry Blake and directed by Jennifer Fletcher, loosely based on the short story by E. T. A. Hoffmann. The company offers recent graduates the skills and experience to transition into the theatre industry, in works exploring issues at the centre of young people’s lives: sex, mental health, trauma and fierce fashion.
This show is about giving the performers the chance to shine, and shine they really did. Convincing, engaging and committed performances from them all. Yes it isn’t flawless vocally, but entirely forgivable because every note is imbued with feeling. The ensemble shows that they truly can deliver something spectacular in their final, moving, close harmony number, ‘The Lord is my Shepherd’.
This quality of production is heightened by the other talented creatives involved. Designer Naomi Kuyck-Cohen and lighting designer Ben Pickersgill have created an atmospheric, flexible and gorgeous minimal set, with see-through walls offering an astounding variety of scenes in what’s really a quite an awkward theatre space. The choreography (from Fletcher) is highly effective and ultimately fearless given the size of the cast relative to the size of the stage.
Going to see this is more than just the chance to see some young superstars in the making. It’s a great show, with a powerful message and some gripping acting performances (and a tap dance).
The Sandman [Image: Helen Murray]The Sandman runs at the Southwark Playhouse until 29 June (in rep with What Was Left) Tickets