Review: Lift

By Sophie Bestwick

A young and little-known British musical, this contemporary theatre piece focusses on the interactions we face in daily life with strangers, both in person, and through the use of modern technology and social media.

As the show unfolds, we learn more about each character seen at the beginning, more a musical exploring characters and human nature than plot-driven. True to form, the whole cast absolutely nailed their individual characterisations, with the energy level never once dropping: an incredible focus from each performer.

Clever blocking by director Em Barrett, who worked well with a complex space, divides the stage into distinct settings which become familiar even in the non-linear narrative. The set itself is simple, yet one of the most effective I have seen. With a suggestion of the lift rather than a lift itself and a raised staging, Lift creates its own opportunities for understated changes in place and mood, sometimes something as small as one of Phill Cato’s shifts of lighting.

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© Harry Elletson

There is a range in vocal styles and abilities in the cast which compliment each other on the complex counterpoints and blend together beautifully on the intricate harmonies, bringing shivers to the audience with their phenomenal vocal power. A special mention for outstanding performance must go to Anna Hale, with her stunning rendition of ‘That Rainy Day’, and Eddie Kaziro, with his excellent portrayal of the struggles of a ballet dancer, and for providing most of the comic relief in the show.

For such an ensemble performance, the movement has to be spot on. Tara Geraghty utilises motifs that create a sense of familiarity for the audience, with pedestrianised movements that fit perfectly with the musical style. Other than a seemingly misplaced umbrella number that seemed a little odd within the context of the show, the movement direction in this show seems to be pitched at just the right level and looks beautiful with some amazing effects.

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© Harry Elletson

Josh Griffith leads the band filled with talented musicians flawlessly, with an amazing soundtrack executed with professional flair. I am very pleased that the musicians are revealed at the end of the show to receive the rapturous applause they so deserve!

Lift is performing at the Drama Barn tonight at 7:30pm. Tickets available on the door (£4/5)

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