Apartment 40C - Musical ☆☆☆☆☆5
Showing from - Wednesday, December 3, 2014 through till Saturday, December 20, 2014
Eel Brook Public House Theatre, Fulham - London
Beth Loughran | Saturday, December 6, 2014
On instinct, the title alone gave high hopes of something authentic and well crafted.
'Apartment 40C' was exactly that, a perfectly pitched and placed piece of theatre composition. From score to script, staging to set, high praise is due to the creators and directors Tom Lees (music) and Ray Rackham (libretto and lyrics). The authenticity of performances from this superlative cast makes it clear that they themselves made a significant contribution to the creative process too; a set-up which has given rise to some truly beautiful and elemental theatre art.It is so rare that an audience is given mental space and not overloadedGoing up the staircase at the Eel Brook, the audience inadvertently enters the titular 'Apartment 40C'. Firstly coming across part of the set, a bed with a slight hint of Emin about it (fantastic), they are then able to take their seats to visually explore the set of this New York apartment a little further.
The gorgeous score starts with the three female characters entering one by one to the opening song ‘Well Ma’. Each of them represent three adult generations, with the youngest playing a college student. Their male counterparts appear soon afterwards.
There are three independent narratives running simultaneously throughout the course of this piece, which give perspective on male/female relationships in early adult, mid and later life. It is so rare that an audience is given mental space and not overloaded, yet here they can emotionally interact and find their way through these not so separate life paths.
Each cast member brings absolute and full integrity to their role. Alex Crossley (Kate) and Alex James Ellison (Eddie) completely blow the ‘cuteness scale’ and bring much joy and laughter to the audience in their realistic portrayal of two unexpected roomies at college in NYC.
Lizzie Wofford (Kate - the next generation on), stuns vocally whilst transitioning beautifully between script and song with deeply satisfying emotional play. Her counterpart Drew Weston (Ed) must be mentioned for his crystal clear transparency throughout in so sensitively and intricately showing the male predicament, beautifully highlighted in the book by Rackham. Nova Skipp (Kathryn) brings great complexity to her role and Peter Gerald (Edward) brings some serious ‘clout’ to the narrative’s treatment of a difficult past and present; yet this couple elicits some of the most uninhibited laughter of the evening.
This is a piece of alchemical art providing an encouraging philosophical comment on life and seems to bear influence of greats like Pina Bausch. Seeing Kate and Ed watch TV was simply beautiful, as was the Chinese meal. Without wishing to give any more away, you are urged to go and see this truly brilliant, funny, emotional show. It wouldn’t be a surprise if it popped up in the West End or on Broadway at some point.
It certainly deserves to.
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