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Posts Tagged ‘Callum Henderson’

I’ve lost count of the number of four-hander chamber musicals set in New York City featuring twenty or thirty-somethings with complicated relationships. They’re sometimes light on story and often seem like song cycles, with great similarity to one another. This one is Joshua Salzman & Ryan Cunningham’s 2011 follow-up to 2006’s successful I Love You Because. When I saw the UK premiere at the much missed Landor Theatre in 2013, I thought it was a cut above the rest and after this second viewing I felt the same.
Waverly is a wannabe actress with two jobs, one in a law firm and one in a bar. Her boyfriend Darren is a budding playwright. Waverly’s best friend Lisa is a singer, Darren’s ex before she came out, now looking for the right woman to start a new life with in LA. Luke is a playboy, immature and self-obsessed, determined to live life without ties. Through these four characters and their relationships, we explore the conflict between settling down and staying free, the careers we want and the ones we can get.
The strengths of the show are the development of the characters and the quality of the songs and lyrics. Director Robert McWhir, who also directed its UK premiere, as he did that of I Love You Because, has assembled an excellent young cast. Bessy Ewa navigates the roller-coaster ride of Waverley extremely well, Amelia Atherton is in fine voice as Lisa (both are 2020 graduates), Callum Henderson is earnest and charming as Darren and Nathan Shaw captures Luke’s freewheeling lifestyle.
The Garden Theatre has been given its own bar, where much of the action is centred, in David Shields excellent design, with Aaron Clingham on keys and guitarist Ashley Blasse on a platform that’s an integral part of the bar. It’s very well staged and I enjoyed it as much as I did the UK premiere seven years ago.

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