“With such talent on stage this production deserves to be seen by many”
The National Youth Music Theatre’s production of Merrily We Roll Along clearly demonstrates that the world of musical theatre is safe in the hands of the next generation! From the opening bars of the overture under the musical direction of Leigh Stanford Thompson you know you are in for a treat. Despite the challenge of having a split orchestra (4 on set and the rest in an anti-room) the musicianship is tight, and Sondheim’s difficult cross rhythms are played with ease. This is no mean feat when you note that the 12 strong band is made up of people aged between 16 and 23!
Merrily We Roll Along is a complex show. Not least the opening number which reveals to us the complicated life of successful film and musical composer, Franklin Shepard played by 19-year-old Toby Owers with an ease that disguises his age. It’s 1980; Franklin is surrounded by lovers, admirers and hangers-on – but where are his friends? This leads to the talented ensemble asking the question: “How did you get to be here?”. This Sondheim/Furth musical then moves back in time, episode by episode to show we how Franklin finds success and loses his way.