Saturday, 23 February 2013

More like 54 seconds in a lift...

'We all have the ability to communicate, to learn and to love and yet we share the most intimate spaces in lifts, on trains and in life every day, as if we're strangers who share nothing' 
- Craig Adams and Ian Watson 

About 3 years ago when I first heard 'Lost In Translations' performed at the Edinburgh Fringe my curiosity about Lift the musical began. I was at the peak of my musical obsession, and had seen a fair amount of shows, but no track grabbed me as much as this one did. Fast forward to February 2013 where I sat in the bar of the Soho Theatre, waiting patiently for the house to open.

It's difficult to sum up what this show is about. I can imagine everyone to take something different away with them, but for me this was about life. Not the Hollywood version we see in movies and read in books, but real life. That part of yourself you don't want anyone to see being laid bare. The story follows 7 characters and is set in the lift at Covent Garden tube station. We see how they interact (or in some cases do not interact) with each other, and what could happen if they only took a minute to realise the possibilites for new connections are endless.

The Soho theatre is the perfect venue for Lift. It's a really intimate space which makes you feel like you are part of the production. The set, while simplistic is very effective, with a lot of the tube movement being created by body movement. There are moveable poles which are used not only as the structure of the lift but also to show a change in scene.

The book  (written by Ian Watson) is very modern and relevant with great comedic timing. The characters are written and performed so well that I found myself relating to them all at some point during the show, which is pretty rare. The music (by Craig Adams) is unlike anything I have ever heard before. I already have a post dedicated to the album here with my thoughts in more detail. This is very much an ensemble piece, and it's difficult to single out one performer, but Cynthia Erivo's rendition of 'It's Been a Year' was simply stunning. So believable and raw and left me with a lump in my throat. 

It's so refreshing to see something so different being created in theatre. This definitely needs to transfer or tour and I think we need more shows like it.

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