Your Lie in April
Rating: ★★★★★
Venue: Theatre Royal Drury Lane, London
Cast: Zheng Xi Yong, Rumi Sutton, Rachel Clare Chan, Joanna Ampil, Dean John-Wilson, Eu Jin Hwang, Julie Yammanee, Jade Albertsen, Lauren Chia, Hannah Yun Chamberlain, Imogen Rose Hart, Yuki Abe, Chris Fung, Ernest Stroud, JoJo Meridith, Michael Lin, Samuel How and Jason Wang-Westland

This musical adaption of a manga favourite story, Your Lie in April, brings to life the poignant story of Kōsei Arima, a young piano prodigy, and his inability to play following his mother’s death. He strikes a friendship with violinist Kaori Miyazono and she slowly encourages him to perform again. This adaption is based on Your Lie in April, a five-million-selling manga by Naoshi Arakawa published by KODANSHA LTD

Musical concerts are taking over the West End at the moment, and I, for one, am loving them. Musical concerts focus heavily on the music and the story, and much is left to the imagination in terms of set and staging, and it's exciting to witness a production so early on it's (hopeful) West End or UK journey.

Your Lie in April is based on the hugely successful manga series of the same name, written and illustrated by Naoshi Arakawa, from 2011-2015. During this time, it was also adapted into an equally successful TV series. And for a manga that deserves its place on the stage, there's no better team than Frank Wildhorn and Nick Winston, who are also the creative geniuses behind manga-inspired Death Note: the Musical.

While the show is based on the popular Japanese manga, it was very much its own piece, with a subtle nod to Japanese culture. Your Lie in April in Concert has a very short run, 8 - 9 April, at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. The conductor and musicians joined the cast on a simple stage using projected pictures and minimal furniture to indicate scene changes. As it was marketed as a concert, this was very much expected.

The production follows the story of Kosei Arima, played by Zheng Xi Yong, a piano prodigy who looses the ability to play after his mother's death. He meets Kaori Miyazomo, Rumi Sutton, a violinist who encourages him to play again.

Zheng Xi Yong isn't the perfect vocalist but is wonderful as naïve, sad and lost Kosei. Falling in love with Kaori as their friendship blossoms but not realising his best friend, Tsubaki Sawabe, Rachel Clare Chan, loves him. He received a standing ovation for a piano piece he played in the second act which was very much deserved.

Rumi Sutton's vocals were beautiful with her renditions of "Perfect"; both emotional and sweet. She played Kaori with a kind nature but strong, always encouraging, and pushing Kosei to play. Their duet of "One Hundred Thousand Million Stars" was truly wonderful.

A special mention must go to Rachel Clare Chan's rendition of "Where's My Superhero?"; it was a really touching moment. Her cheerful portrayal of Tsubaki Sawabe was sweetly childlike. Another highlight was Dean John-Wilson who played the fourth member of their friendship group, Ryota Watari. He was lively, silly and had huge energy.

This was a truly lovely production with the cast giving it their all. Despite only running for two nights the cast spared no energy or voice, they were fabulous. A show that is certain to breathe life into the West End in the near future; definitely a show to watch out for.

You can book tickets to Your Lie in April at Theatre Royal Drury Lane, here.

Review by Ed

**photo credit: Mark Senior**

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