London Road (musical)

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London Road
Londonroadcover.jpg
Cover of the published text
Music Adam Cork
Lyrics Alecky Blythe and Adam Cork
Book Alecky Blythe
Basis Interviews about the Steve Wright killings
Productions

2011 Royal National Theatre

2014 Bristol Old Vic Theatre School

London Road is a musical written by Alecky Blythe (book and lyrics) and Adam Cork (music and lyrics). The production, directed by Rufus Norris, opened at the National Theatre's Cottesloe theatre in London, United Kingdom, on 14 April 2011 after seven previews.

Overview[edit]

The musical is set in and around London Road in Ipswich, Suffolk, during the Ipswich serial murders and subsequent trial of killer Steve Wright in 2006–2008. The piece is written in verbatim style, meaning the spoken text is reproduced by the performers exactly as recorded in interviews, in this case conducted by Blythe with the residents of London Road and some of the women who worked as prostitutes there, as well as members of the media who gathered in the area to report the news. The lyrics in the musical segments are similarly derived from the interviews as recorded, with the meter, pitch and rhythm of the music following the patterns of the original recorded speech as closely as possible.[1]

Neither the murdered women or their killer are depicted, nor are the murders themselves; rather, the piece is concerned with the residents as they cope with the events unfolding around them, the media attention drawn to their neighbourhood, and their attempts to rebuild and regenerate their community afterwards. The piece does not feature principal characters in the conventional sense; instead, an ensemble cast assume the roles of various locals, sex workers and reporters, and most characters are not referred to by name.

The score is orchestrated for woodwind ensemble, guitar, electric guitar, keyboards and percussion.

Musical numbers[edit]

  • "Good Evening, Welcome"
  • "London Road in Bloom"
  • "Everyone is Very Very Nervous"
  • "It Could Be Him"
  • "Shaving Scratch"
  • "And That's When it All Started"
  • "They Like a Good Moan"
  • "It's a Wicked Bloody World"
  • "The Plea"
  • "Ten Weeks"
  • "Cellular Material"
  • "We've All Stopped"
  • "The Verdict"
  • "Everyone Smile"
  • "Interview"
  • "London Road in Bloom" (Reprise)

Original cast[edit]

Clare Burt,[2] Rosalie Craig, Kate Fleetwood, Hal Fowler, Nick Holder, Claire Moore, Michael Shaeffer, Nicola Sloane, Paul Thornley, Howard Ward, Duncan Wisbey.

Reception[edit]

The musical opened to almost unanimous critical acclaim, garnering 5-star ratings from the Evening Standard, Financial Times, The Independent, The Mail on Sunday, The Independent on Sunday, The Sunday Times, Metro, The Sunday Express and Time Out magazine.[3]

Many of the reviews made reference to the potentially controversial musical treatment of the source material, for example, critic Michael Coveney of The Independent wrote: "Doubters can be assured there is no "cashing in" on the tragedy, rather a deep, abiding sadness that it happened at all, and even a slight, knowingly shameful admission that something good has come out of it: a reborn community and a renewal of civic pride."[4]

London Road won Best Musical at the 2011 Critics' Circle Theatre Awards, held on 24 January 2012.[5]

Revival[edit]

On 25 January 2012, the National Theatre's artistic director Nick Hytner announced that London Road would be revived for a short season in the National's Olivier Theatre from July 2012.[6] The revival ran for 29 performances between 28 July and 6 September 2012.[7]

In 2014 Bristol Old Vic Theatre School gained the rights to perform a production of London Road. It ran from the 10th to the 21st June 2014 in the Bristol Old Vic Studio.

Film[edit]

A film adaptation was announced in July 2013, to be directed by Rufus Norris. The film began production in February, 2014 and will be produced by the National Theatre, BBC Films and Cuba Pictures.[8][9][10][11] The film features Tom Hardy and Olivia Colman in roles of Mark, a taxi driver and Julie, the organizer of Ipswich´s Neighbor Watch.[12]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Original London production[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2012 Laurence Olivier Award Best New Musical Nominated
Best Actress in a Musical Kate Fleetwood Nominated
Best Director Rufus Norris Nominated
Best Theatre Choreographer Javier de Frutos Nominated

References[edit]

External links[edit]