The Go Between – West End

The Go Between by L P Hartley was first published in 1953 and is probably his most popular work. A 1971 film on it was revisited in 2015 by the BBC as part of the 20th Century classics season. It is this latest adaptation that inspired me to want visit this production at the Apollo Theatre. Thanks to London Theatre Bookings invitation to attend a trade night, I did just that.

An elaborate set giving the feeling of being in an upper class drawing-room whilst also being at one with the outdoors, greets us as we take to our seats. Michael Crawford takes the lead as Leo Colston. Last appearing in the West End in the Wizard of Oz it is nice to see Crawford back on the London stage.

For those that don’t know the story, it is a fictional tale of a boy who has a three-week stay in his upper class’ friends house during the summer. It is a vacation that will change the course of his life forever. He becomes “postman” between a farmer and a daughter of the landowner. A significant class divide and simply not the done thing to have a love torrid affair with someone not of your social circles in 1900. It tells of lust, loyalty, betrayal and heartbreak with devastating consequences.

Crawford remains on the stage for the duration of the play, narrating and recalling memories of that hot July summer. His stage presence never in question, he delivers a commanding performance. Gemma Sutton and Stuart Ward play Marion and Ted, the lovers whose story is pivotal to this production. Sutton and Ward give their roles exactly what they require a tantalising, lustful, unspoken love affair with each other, conveyed only by letters exchanged with the aid of the go between. Sutton’s crystal clear pitch perfect singing is a joy.

Underpinning the whole proceedings is the musical score which is both sophisticated and simplistic at the same time. It is beautiful and understated, perfectly complimenting the story.

This play is a delightful adaptation by David Wood of a classic novel and the composer Richard Taylor does justice to this production with a sublime score. Roger Haines directs the cast superbly well guiding them through a complex setting by Michael Pavelka.

An extremely pleasant evening of secrets, lust, loyalty and betrayal with an equally strong cast supporting “The Go-Between” Michael Crawford.

The Go Between – West End

★★★1/2 “a delightful adaptation”

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