Wednesday 26 June 2024

Next to Normal - Review

Wyndham's Theatre, London


Music by Tom Kitt
Book & lyrics by Brian Yorkey
Directed by Michael Longhurst

Caissie Levy

There are moments when new writing touches the very essence of humanity. So it is with Next to Normal that has now opened in the West End following an acclaimed run at the Donmar Warehouse last year.

Caissie Levy is Diana, a woman who we learn early on in the show is grappling with significantly impaired mental health. Jamie Parker is her husband Dan, battling to support her, while there are perfectly nuanced performances from Eleanor Worthington-Cox as daughter Natalie and Jack Wolfe as son Gabe. To say much more about the plot would be to spoil the story’s reveals, as Levy and her three co-stars take Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey’s inspired songs and narrative, delivering harrowing entertainment punctuated with moments of perfectly weighted ironic humor.

In support are Trevor Dion Nicholas as the story’s two doctors, and Jack Ofrecio as Natalie’s would-be suitor Henry.

The words and music are fast-flowing with credit to Nick Barstow’s six-piece ensemble perched atop Chloe Lamford’s ingeniously designed set.

Ultimately uplifting, the two-act show plumbs the depths of grief and suffering and it makes for an inspirational evening that is probably not suited to those who are emotionally fragile. That being said, Next to Normal is exquisitely crafted musical theatre.

Runs until 21st September
Photo credit: Marc Brenner

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