Standing at the Sky's Edge
Rating: ★★★★
Venue: Gillian Lynne Theatre. London
Cast: Elizabeth Ayodele, Joel Harper-Jackson, Sharlene Hector, Mel Lowe, Laura Pitt-Pulford, Lauryn Redding, Samuel Jordan, Baker Mukasa, Alastair Natkie and Rachael Wooding

The multi-award winning new musical STANDING AT THE SKY’S EDGE – winner of the Olivier Award for Best New Musical transfers to the West End following sold-out runs at the National Theatre and Sheffield Theatres.​

The show was originally written as a love letter to Sheffield, charting the hopes and dreams of three generations over the course of six tumultuous decades, navigating universal themes of love, loss and survival.

This musical really reminds you that home can be anywhere and with anyone.

Having known very little about this musical, going in blind means you are able to take it all in and that is exactly what I did from the moment I walked into the theatre and headed to my seat. The staging was immaculate. The way set designer Ben Stones utilised the space the Gillian Lynne has to offer really helped tell this heart-warming story - from the way the flat was set up, to the actors acting certain scenes within the audience, to the orchestra/band being visible and a part of the show. At certain points you don’t know where to look because there is just so much going on.

This brings me to the cast. What a line-up of insanely talented individuals. The way that this cast had such remarkable chemistry, you almost forget that they are simply acting. Each person made you believe in their character and really feel for each situation within the story. The narration route of telling this story was an interesting choice. The story is essentially being told by Connie (played by Mel Lowe) and she guides the audience into learning how the three generations of families intertwine. A very intriguing concept, and Mel was exceptional.

Richard Hawley’s music really helped to keep the audience captivated. Lauryn Redding as Nikki was a standout for me. Her powerhouse vocals and ability to blend well and create this realism with Laura Pitt-Pulford’s Poppy really had me rooting for the pair, but at the same time wondering why Poppy didn’t stick to her gut. I could go on about how amazing every single person in this cast is, but we would be here for an eternity.

The downfall for me was the pacing in act two and how it just felt ever so slightly rushed, whereas act one was gripping, captivating, and had you on edge. Another thing that I felt didn't quite hit the mark was the years and decades that go by throughout the show so quickly. I often found myself getting confused at which family and decade/year we were seeing. Maybe if you see the show a few times it would flow better, but at times, it just felt sloppy and confusing.

That aside, Robert Hastie’s direction of Chris Bush’s text is unlike any other. Standing at the Sky's Edge dares to be different and unique, and it worked brilliantly. Having sat with my thoughts, I am now realising just how powerful, moving, and real this musical is. I applaud every single person that had a part in telling this unforgettable story.

You can book tickets to see Standing at the Sky's Edge at the Gillian Lynne Theatre, here.

Review by Dani

 **photography by Brinkhoff-Moegenburg**

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