Storyhouse Chester – until 28th May 2022
Reviewed by Jennifer Hughes
Directed by Joyce Branagh, Chesters Storyhouse Theatre hosts the word premier of Tim Frith’s brand new musical. Now Is Good.
Jeff Rawle’s much loved Ray opened the show with a moving and poignant song , which seems a bizarre description of a lyric largely based around falling through a shed roof and fig rolls, yet it was moving and humorous in equal measure. Beautifully, he sang about his late wife whilst surrounded by broken timber, dust sheets and memories. A scene echoed by his Health and Safety guru son , Neil (Chris Hannon) towards the end of the play …..but I won’t spoil that for you.
An old mahogany clock took centre stage throughout the show, never changing in time, never moving forward, which echoed the sentiments of the largely ‘older’ characters in the play who sang about their frustrations with the internet, video calling and the modern obsession with the ‘Alexa’ lifestyle. The ‘old and the new’ theme was not only portrayed through the refurbishing of the old high street bank into a new community hub, but depicted beautifully by the introduction of the Storyhouse Youth Theatre – playing characters from the nearby school, alongside their more mature fellow thespians. Working in education, I can honestly say that Alyce Liburd’s facial expressions as teacher Katy, were on point!
In all, this play was something very different. It is laced with subtle morals, themes and messages. Celebrating life, tackling loneliness, being afraid to move on but yet offering hope and a sense of community over a fig roll and a sing song.
“Beautiful souls can marry wrong; they usually do”.