REVIEW: THIS LITTLE LIFE OF MINE (Park Theatre) ★★★
The world premiere of THIS LITTLE LIFE OF MINE comes to Park Theatre for a limited season. The book is written by Michael Yale, who also directs the production. The music is written by Charlie Round-Turner, with set and costume design by Zahra Mansouri, and musical direction by Thomas Duchan. The show is produced by Stage Traffic Productions, a newly formed theatre company set up by Michael Yale and Eilene Davidson to produce theatre based on strong storytelling and powerful performances.
Pitched as the first musical drama to examine the true lives of modern Londoners, the tale is inspired by real life experiences of Yale and his friends. This is a story about the gulf between desire and reality, the difference between daily life and the versions we present on social media. The show explores themes familiar to London residents; endless dating, overpriced flats, over-friendly bar staff and nights of ‘just one more drink’; it then throws in the more serious issues of infertility and its impact on a relationship and how easy it is to feel very alone among the busyness of a capital city.
The show starts with Izzy and Jonesy finally finding their sought after flat in Zone 2, it ticks most of their boxes and they need to take it now, before someone else steals it from under their feet. On the surface this couple has it all, good jobs, great friends and now, their own place (however tiny). The next obvious step is a baby. Or does life have other plans?
Izzy and Jonesy are played by Kate Batter and James Robinson, convincing as the young couple embracing London life’s ups and downs together. All the other characters are played by Greg Barnett and Caroline Deverill. All four cast members are strong but the stand out performance was from Deverill, switching easily between Jonesy’s interfering mother and Izzy’s friend Tina, both roles providing her with interesting things to say.
This is musical drama rather than musical theatre; the songs reinforce the characters and their situation while the acting tells the story. The songs are accompanied by keyboard and cello performed by Thomas Duchan and Daisy Heath, the musicians are visible throughout the show and the music does not overwhelm the singing. The simple set works well in the small space of Park90, emphasising the claustrophobia of the flat while also acting as café, bars and coffee shops where the story plays out.
This Little Life of Mine is an entertaining show presenting traditional themes of love and loss against a backdrop of London life with characters many will find familiar.
Reviewed by Rhiannon Evans
Photo: Charlie Round Turner
THIS LITTLE LIFE OF MINE plays at the PARK Theatre until 29 October 2016