Hiding away south of the river lies a fairly new theatrical gem, The Turbine Theatre. Playing there right now is For you I’d Wait, a new musical from emerging writing duo Sophie Golby & Thomas West that rocks as well as moves and entertains. Golby and West have done a real service to the theatre, offering a contemporary take on relationships and topical events. The show breaks new ground not only with its content but with its approach to the production as a whole.
Nic (Michael Kerl-Lewis) has moved to Paris with his wife (Olivia Walker-Toward) for work, staying with his sister, Dani and her girlfriend, Renee (Gemma Pearce and Billie Kerr). Interspersed with these two couples we are also introduced to the naive Christophe (Jerome Lincoln) and Eloise (Charlotte Hannan). Christophe hopes to marry Eloise, but the fall out from events leaves no room for such romance.
Inspired by the devastating Paris terror attacks, the plot centres around the aftermath as we see the couples redefining their relationships. The first half invites us to witness the building of those relationships, but just as we feel settled in, it ends in high drama with the attack and loss of life. The show’s title number is particularly evocative as we see the couples struggle to comprehend events.
Kerl-Lewis exudes all the charm required of a romantic lead, while alongside him, Walker-Toward is vocally talented. Elsewhere, Kerr sings with a real sense of torment, especially with the moving anthem I Want To Go Back. It’s a song that demonstrates the obvious skills of Golby & West, revealing much of the character’s dilemmas within the lyrics, and so giving us a greater understanding for their actions and behaviours.
Pearce’s Dani is pitched just right, with a convincing naturalism. Her lines are delivered with insight and emotional weight. She offers a delightfully sensitive performance showing the development of a range of complex notions while seeking resolution and reconciliation. While co-directors, Samantha Pears and Elsa Strachan, manage the theatre space effectively, keeping us focused on the right couple at the right time.
There is much to enjoy here, with many touching moments to cherish, such as the close harmonies on I Wonder. Yes, some pruning and rewriting will be required as part of any future development; at times intentions do not always seem credible, while some lyrics feel a little pedestrian at times. But who would have thought that ‘stretch marks’ would find its way into a song – it certainly showed a sense of originality.
Credit must be given to West & Golby for their resilience, tenacity, and determination, and most of all, their sense of creativity. They illustrated how we can hold on to the past in the present and still allow ourselves to find and build a future, a future we may not have imagined possible. The Turbine Theatre is certainly a new theatrical gem south of the river.
Book, Music & Lyrics by: Sophie Golby & Thomas West
Directed by: Samantha Pears & Elsa Strachan
Musical direction by: Jenna Dyckhoff
Lighting design by: Olivia Bailey
For You I’d Wait plays at The Turbie Theatre until 21 May. Further information and bookings can be found here.