I was lucky enough to be able to see Theatre1's performance of Songs For A New World last night at The Gatehouse in Stafford. A cast of eight, accompanied by a sensational four-piece band, skilfully performed this inspiring musical written by Tony-Award-winning Jason Robert Brown. The performance took place in the Gatehouse's black-box (named The Met) studio; a small and intimate space which worked perfectly for this show.
Songs For A New World is a stunning musical compilation of Jason Robert Brown's compositions that all follow different individual stories based around the theme of the show's title. Journeys into motherhood, reconciled and broken relationships, money troubles and dreams of the future are some of the subjects explored through song.
The intricacy of the material was met with great accomplishment from the performers and the band. Each performer showed individual strength and diversity through the differing musical numbers, but, as an ensemble, they were absolutely flawless. Emily Di-Silvestro gave a breath-taking performance of The Flagmaker, which left me mesmerised. She is nothing short of West End quality. Emma Sanders and Becky Lyle tackled the more comedic numbers (Surabaya-Santa and Just One Step) with ease and totally engaged the audience. The male cast, in particular Tom Gosling, delivered the material with conviction and beautiful vocal technique.
Whether singing solo or as an ensemble, this group of young adults are exceptionally good at what they do. They also have great chemistry on stage, which surfaced especially in Gosling's duet with choreographer and performer, Hannah Morris.
I highly commend director David Reynolds on his presentation of this musical. The innovative treatment of the space, combined with the symbolic use of props and projections, created an intriguing visual performance that would hold its integrity if transferred to any black-box studio. Whilst the show was very contemporary in its presentation, the relationship between audience and cast was very humble and could be appreciated by all. The lighting used was complimentary, yet not overbearing and the balance of sound was exceptional.
I will be shouting from the rooftops to tell people about this show and I really hope it generates the audience it deserves. I will most definitely be keeping a close eye on Theatre1's upcoming productions. Tickets are still on sale for Songs For A New World, which runs until Saturday 18 July. Be sure not to miss it.
Tickets available by clicking here.
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