London Road (musical)

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London Road
Londonroadcover.jpg
Cover of the published text
MusicAdam Cork
LyricsAlecky Blythe
Adam Cork
BookAlecky Blythe
BasisInterviews about the Steve Wright killings
Productions2011 Royal National Theatre
2014 Bristol Old Vic Theatre School
2015 film adaptation
2017 Cambridge
2018 University of South Carolina Upstate

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 nor 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]

Revivals[edit]

In July 2012 the production was revived for a short season in the National's Olivier Theatre.[6] The revival ran for 29 performances between 28 July and 6 September 2012.[7]

In 2014 Bristol Old Vic Theatre School staged performances of London Road from 10 to 21 June 2014 in the Bristol Old Vic Studio.[8] The production was directed by Nicholas Bone with musical direction by Pamela Rudge.[8]

In 2018 University of South Carolina Upstate's Shoestring Players performed from April 12 to 15 in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The production was directed by Jimm Cox. This is believed to be the debut of London Road in the United States.

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.[9][10][11][12] The film respectively features Tom Hardy and Olivia Colman in roles of Mark, a taxi driver and Julie, the organizer of Ipswich´s Neighbourhood Watch.[13] The live film premiere was screened in cinemas across the UK as part of National Theatre Live on 9 June 2015 and on general release in cinemas on 12 June 2015.[14]

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]

  1. ^ Original cast recording CD inlay pp3-4
  2. ^ "National Theatre". February 2011. Retrieved 29 September 2011.
  3. ^ "National Theatre – South Bank, London". National Theatre.
  4. ^ Coveney, Michael (15 April 2011). "First Night: London Road, National Theatre, London". The Independent. London.
  5. ^ "DRAMA - The Critics' Circle".
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 28 January 2012. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 31 March 2012. Retrieved 3 April 2012.
  8. ^ a b "London Road (Bristol Old Vic Theatre School- Bristol Old Vic)".
  9. ^ Jessica Showers. "National Theatre's LONDON ROAD Will Be Adapted Into Feature Film". broadwayworld.com.
  10. ^ Bamigboye, Baz (25 July 2013). "BAZ BAMIGBOYE: Gugu is Belle of the ball in feisty period drama". Daily Mail. London.
  11. ^ [1][dead link]
  12. ^ "Rufus Norris starts work on London Road film". BBC News.
  13. ^ Brian Gallagher (5 April 2014). "Tom Hardy and Olivia Colman Join the Musical 'London Road'". MovieWeb.
  14. ^ Tom Seymour. "London Road: unlike any serial killer film you've seen before". the Guardian.

External links[edit]