This isn’t a sponsored post. BrumHour was invited to see The Lovely Bones at the press night by Birmingham Rep.
By David Fox twitter.com/DavidFoxTheatre
The Lovely Bones at
Directed by Melly Still Adapted by Bryony Lavery.
Based on Alice Sebold’s hugely successful novel, and due to incredible popular demand the spectacular stage production returns to Birmingham Rep until 21st September.
Pennsylvania in the 1970s. The Lovely Bones tells the story of 14-year-old high school student Susie Salmon. Susie has died – beginning the play, in the most horrifying way, as she tells the story of her brutal rape and murder. Susie talks to us from heaven as she struggles to watch her murderer continue his daily life without remorse, see her friends and siblings grow up without her, and watch her family torn apart by the aftermath of her murder.
The Lovely Bones deals with the incredibly serious subject matter and at times is uncomfortable to watch – particularly the opening. However, there is much humour as we see Susie’s life told through flashbacks, and experience her relationships with her friends and family. There are also many emotional moments, when we are hoping her killer gets caught, sadness as her friends develop relationships without her around, and a real poignancy when Susie meets the other victims of her murderer, by cleverly using dresses like puppets to represent the girls.
The ensemble cast in this production is terrific, with some playing a variety of roles. Charlotte Beaumont as Susie is magnificent, ever-present on stage guiding us through Susie’s life and making us empathise with her highs and lows. Nicholas Khan is also particularly chilling as Harvey, Susie’s killer.
Director Melly Still, should also be commended for creating a wonderful drama with such a brilliant cast.
Visually this production was incredible. The set was backed by a giant mirror that filled the stage, reflecting the action as if the audience were looking down with a bird’s eye view of the action – or from heaven with Susie. At times the mirror rippled giving a distorted, dreamlike quality to the action, while at others the mirror was lit from behind revealing more scenes. I have not seen anything like this effect on stage before so the clever design was a real highlight of the production for me. I Still can’t work out how it was done.
With such grim subject matter, it feels strange to say that I enjoyed The Lovely Bones. However, I am a fan of quality drama – and this play is exactly that! Great acting, great production design and a great 70s soundtrack this was a great adaptation of Alice Sebold’s novel. Overall The Lovely Bones is emotional, thought provoking, and a tragic play. It is highly recommended and (rather brilliantly) Birmingham made – starting at the Rep before heading out on a nationwide tour. Catch it at Birmingham Rep while you can.
The Lovely Bones is at Birmingham Rep until 21st September. Book tickets here: birmingham-rep.co.uk/whats-on/the-lovely-bones.html
Tour Dates continue at:
Theatre Royal, Nottingham 24th to 28th September, tickets here: trch.co.uk/whats-on/the-lovely-bones
Exeter Northcott Theatre 30th September to 5th October: exeternorthcott.co.uk/calendar/the-lovely-bones
Norwich Theatre Royal 7th to 12th October: theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk/Online
The Lowry Salford 15th to 19th October: thelowry.com/whats-on/the-lovely-bones
Rose Theatre Kingston 22nd to 26th October: rosetheatrekingston.org/whats-on/the-lovely-bones
London Hackney Empire 28th October to 1st November: hackneyempire.co.uk/whats-on/the-lovely-bones
Cambridge Arts Theatre 4th to 9th November: cambridgeartstheatre.com/whats-on/lovely-bones
Oxford Playhouse 11th to 16th November: oxfordplayhouse.com/whats-on/all-shows/the-lovely-bones/12304
Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford 18th to 23rd November: yvonne-arnaud.co.uk/production/the-lovely-bones
Chichester Festival Theatre 26th to 30th November: cft.org.uk/whats-on/event/the-lovely-bones
This isn’t a sponsored post.
When not writing for #BrumHour, David Fox spends his time wondering when Checkov is back on the midlands stage or is that Chekov?