HomeTheatreREVIEW: Whistle Down the Wind on the Watermill Theatre

REVIEW: Whistle Down the Wind on the Watermill Theatre


Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1996 musical Whistle Down the Wind represents an formidable manufacturing to mount within the intimate area on the Watermill in Newbury however Director Tom Jackson Greaves has assembled an grownup and junior forged that rises magnificently to the duty. The primary half is stupendous as they create plausible well-defined characters, transfer with a fantastically choreographed ease, and ship a succession of delightfully pleasant songs. Within the second half, the issues in Lloyd Webber’s plot are accentuated and the actor-musicians appear to dominate the stage, regularly handing guitars to one another, making it really feel overcrowded and detracting from the sturdy central performances. 

The musical is a fancy interweaving of many themes as the unique ebook is relocated from Northern England to the American Southern bible bashing states in 1959. Racial hatred and segregation, evangelical spiritual themes, grief over a parental demise and teenage revolt overwhelm a rural neighborhood when a fugitive takes refuge in a barn. There are hints of Lloyd Webber’s earlier musicals Jesus Christ Celebrity and Phantom of the Opera with its central relationship between the tattooed flawed man and the harmless younger lady and the betrayal of his location by the neighborhood. The music is a mixture of gospel, rock, and nation however the best-known tune within the present is “It doesn’t matter what”, which turned a 1998 hit for Boyzone.

Jackson Greaves and designer Simon Kenny deploy a bunch of imaginative and artistic concepts to the manufacturing which is fantastically set and lit by Andrew Exeter in a picket slatted barn with the musicians typically enjoying from the rear or aspect of the stage like a Greek refrain observing the motion. The motion is cleverly choreographed utilizing the area effectively together with the aspect aisles. The lifeless Mom performed by ballerina Stephanie Elstob provides highly effective emotional dance to the storytelling. They introduce detailed small fashions to sign a change of location and shadow puppets so as to add to the imagery of affection and isolation. Every scene opens with the signal that reads “You might be by no means too misplaced to be saved” though the townsfolk might not observe that mantra, the kids of their innocence do.

Certainly, the most effective scenes are those who distinction the younger characters with their grownup counterparts. On the night time I went Isabelle Carroll was Brat and Huey Lockwood was Poor Child they usually have been magnificent in each facet of their efficiency singing sweetly, talking with nice readability and a few good comedian timing. They’re glorious in “I by no means get what I pray for” and “The Vow”. They have been effectively supported by Mieke Brown, Hugo Parker-Farrell, Imogen Jermey and Katie McGall as the opposite youngsters of the city, particularly in “When Kids rule the world” and within the present spotlight that concludes Act 1 with the contrasting attitudes of adults and children in “It doesn’t matter what”.


The narrative is held collectively by a beautiful central efficiency by Lydia White because the teenage sister in a pleasant, nuanced efficiency of unquestioning love, unmatched grief, and nervous vitality. She touches our hearts in “If solely”, we really feel her worry in “Attempt to not be afraid” and see her reluctance to consider The Man (Robert Tripolino) in “ Nature of the Beast”. There may be good assist to from Lloyd Gorman as her father Boone, Lewis Conway as her pal Amos, Chrissie Bhima as Amos’s pal Sweet and Toby Webster as the strict unfeeling Sheriff. The tune “Tire tracks and damaged hearts” between Amos and Sweet is one other very well-executed routine. 

The Watermill has as soon as once more produced a first-class manufacturing that pushes the boundaries of the budgets and the tiny area with a wonderful forged of gifted actors and musicians, some splendidly artistic moments of dance and choreography and a unprecedented workforce of younger performers who with the beautiful lighting deliver this darkish haunting evocative musical to life in a transferring and fascinating method. Undoubtedly well worth the journey down the M4 to see this in its run till tenth September.


Evaluate by Nick Wayne 


Score: ★★★★

Seat: Stalls, Row G | Worth of Ticket: £35

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