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Reviews
Songs For A New World
Directed by Sarah Redmond

Tony award-winner Jason Robert Brown’s musical cycle enjoys a lively revival at the Bridewell Theatre. Part of the National Youth Music Theatre’s summer season, which features more of Brown’s work as part of a temporary collaboration, Songs for a New World is a collection of similarly themed musical numbers in which characters come to some kind of psychological brink – they experience “That one moment when it all becomes clear” and have to make some sort of decision.
 
 
 
 
 


Reviews

"Can JRB ever have imagined what choreographer Cristian Valle and director Sarah Redmond would do with his creation? There’s dancing to startle and amuse, chorus numbers to lift the roof, and soloists with mature, star quality. Voices like Stewart Clarke who took on the challenge of the range of Spanish Sailing Ship with electrifying power. Katie Parsons, a naturally comic and tragic performer in Just One Step, and Surabaya-Santa. And the elastic-limbed, streetwise dude Jake Fisher who stole us away on Steam Train. There’s a delightfully expectant performance of the Christmas Lullaby, stars of the future presenting us with “the future of the world inside of me”. There’s joy and terror, passion and profundity, fun and philsophy, hope and despair. In short, all human life is here. Songs for a New World is a gigantic piece of work, and this is a truly great production."

Reviewer: Eileen Jones, cumbriapr

 

Sarah Redmond brings these fantastic but unrelated songs, linked together as a song cycle, to life with her imaginative and thought provoking staging. Redmond’s skilful direction brings out the very best of each of the young performers on stage.The detailed characterisation and many a comedy moment bring out the full potential of not only the singing, but also great acting.

Ellie Jackson opened the show with a lovely engaging stage presence and stood out throughout. Charlotte Smith showed us some lovely acting as she told us the story of ‘Stars and the Moon’. Katie Parsons, who performed two show stopping numbers ‘Just One Step’ and ‘Surabaya-Santa’, has a fantastic voice and great comic timing. Kayla Cohen and Tom Milligan’s duet ‘I’d give it all for you’ was beautifully sung and acted. Stewart Clarke, Dean Gilmore and Luke Ward sang brilliantly and Jake Fisher brought some great dancing to the show which was choreographed by Cristian Valle.

There was so much young talent on stage to enjoy, but a stand-out moment was Amy Matthews’s real tears streaming down her face after an emotional ‘I’m Not Afraid of Anything’ and the performance of the evening was Eleanor Kiff’s interpretation of ‘The Flagmaker, 1775’, possibly the most challenging song of the evening, and Eleanor executed it perfectly. Jason Robert Brown’s ‘Songs for a New World’ is an exhilarating emotional ride and with Musical Director Francis Goodhand’s band, Sarah Redmond’s interpretation and the talented NYMT this makes for a splendid theatre experience.

Reviewer: Joanna Forest / The Public Reviews Rating: ★★★★

 

We enter an industrial soundscape – cars hoot, trains rattle past and people bustle – while lonely actors pace about the stage or check their mobile phones. Through a synoptic opening number, director Sarah Redmond further introduces the context of the show: a girl wins the lottery, changing her life forever. A few minutes on, she walks into the same train carriage as a terrorist armed with a bomb. References to contemporary issues such as this, haunt the piece throughout: it is a powerful re-imagining of Brown’s original production, which was set in a variety of historical times, yet sometimes the knife cuts a little too close to the bone. In the number I’m not afraid of anything, five girls cower in a Columbine high school classroom as the shooter stalks the corridors outside.

Reviewer: Orestes Daniel Kouzof / The Upcoming