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Posts Tagged ‘The Other Place’

This 15-year-old two-hander by Jason Robert Brown, a somg cycle rather than a musical, was first seen here at the Menier ten years ago with Damian Humbley & Lara Pulver. I recall being more enthusiatic about it then than I am now.

It tells the story of Jamie and Cathy’s five-year relationship in a series of solo songs, Jamie chronologically and Cathy reverse chronologically, with one duet when their stories intersect at their wedding. They are well-crafted songs, if a touch bland, and they are beautifully sung by Jonathan Bailey and Samantha Barks, though Bailey is more animated and connects more with the audience. The music is played beautifully by the six-piece string-heavy band.

My problem with the show is that I found it impossible to engage with it emotionally and didn’t really care much about the characters or their relationship. Because it is merely songs, there’s little room for the development of characters and this is where it fails. A song cycle has its limits and this is a song cycle. I admired the craftsmanship but it felt cold and clinical. I left the theatre disappointed, I’m afraid.

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