The Go Between

Previewed 27 May 2016, Opened 7 June 2016, Closed 15 October 2016 at the Apollo Theatre in London

A major new stage musical adaptation of LP Hartley's The Go Between in London starring Michael Crawford.

Michael Crawford plays Leo Colston who, fifty years previous as a young boy had acted as a 'go-between' passing secret love messages between the upper-class Marian and tenant-farmer Ted who are in a forbidden secret love affair.

The cast features Michael Crawford as 'Leo Colston' with Gemma Sutton as 'Marian', Stuart Ward as 'Ted' and Issy van Randwyck as 'Mrs Maudsley' along with Stephen Carlile, Julian Forsyth, John Addison, Jenni Bowden and Silas Wyatt-Barke. Adaptated for the stage by Richard Taylor and David Wood from the novel by L P Hartley. Directed by Roger Haines with designs by Michael Pavelka, lighting by Tim Lutkin and sound by Matt McKenzie.

Michael Crawford's West End credits include the title role in the original cast of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical The Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty's Theatre in 1986. His more recent stage credits include 'The Wizard' in The Wizard Of Oz at the London Palladium in 2011 and 'Count Fosco' in Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Woman in White at the Palace Theatre in 2004. Gemma Sutton's London musical credits include Gypsy at the Savoy Theatre in 2015; Legally Blonde at the Savoy Theatre in 2011; and Gone with the Wind and Imagine This, both at the New London Theatre in 2008. Stuart Ward's West End credits include Once the Musical at the Phoenix Theatre in 2013.

When this production opened in London here at the Apollo Theatre in June 2016, Paul Taylor in The i Newspaper highlighted that "this enthralling, beautifully textured chamber-musical... feels like a labour of love that, while faithful to the original, has a striking imaginative integrity in its own right." Neil Norman in The Express revealed how, "in this delicate semi-operatic musical, veteran entertainer Michael Crawford makes a quietly triumphant return to the stage after a five-year absence... The songs and arrangements for an on-stage piano faithfully convey the gathering personal crises that propel the story to its bitter end. The score by Richard Taylor and David Wood is superb with beautifully crafted shifts in tone." Michael Billington in The Guardian said: "I found this a curiously austere night out... Michael Crawford, exuding a desiccated sadness, sings Richard Taylor's score beautifully and sculpts each line carefully, so that even a banal lyric achieves genuine poignancy." Quentin Letts in The Daily Mail commented that "this complex evening will not suit all tastes but you leave the theatre touched by the beauty of lost promise." Fiona Mountford in The London Evening Standard thought that "there might be places for a chamber musical - accompaniment one single onstage piano - of LP Hartley's modern classic 1953 novel about illicit love and inadvertent betrayal, but the cut-throat world of the West End really isn't one of them... There's the elegiac elegance of Richard Taylor's music and book writer David Wood's lyrics... but how we long for this elegance to be supplanted for just a few minutes by something more powerful, more tuneful and, hell, better lit." Dominic Cavendish in The Daily Telegraph described how "the evening finally gathers to a stirring head as the story builds to its riveting, melodramatic climax of discovery and tear-jerking desolation... and Richard Taylor and David Wood's adroit adaptation fully earns its artistic keep... Worth a look, then, but not queuing round the block to see." Ian Shuttleworth in The Financial Times held that "without the attraction of Michael Crawford's name, a resolutely minor-key, innately English production such as this would do no business in the West End. It is almost overexposed, and would certainly be more comfortable in a larger studio venue rather than the nearly 800-seat Apollo." Ann Treneman in The Times explained that "this is not an all-singing, all-dancing evening. There is only an on-stage piano, played beautifully by Nigel Lilley. But it is the music, by Richard Taylor, with its intricate harmonies often sung by a ghost-like chorus, that saves this production from melodramatic madness... But don't expect to be moved as you leave, nor humming any tunes."

"'The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there' is the celebrated opening line of LP Hartley's The Go-Between. They also did musicals differently and Richard Taylor and David Wood's elegant, elegiac if ultimately undernourished version of the novel is a brave throwback to small-scale character-based shows in these days of the mega-musical... The gentle show does have a high-powered star in Michael Crawford, playing the elderly Leo haunted by his past. His boyish looks are perfect for a man permanently fixed in repressed adolescence and his voice is as expressive as ever... Roger Haines's production is imaginative and decorous, with excellent performances from Gemma Sutton and Stuart Ward as the lovers." The Sunday Express

"This quintessentially English tale of love, class, loss of innocence and terrible trauma has inspired composer Richard Taylor, and his shimmering Sondheimesque strains eloquently underscore David Wood's new stage adaptation... A marvellous, moving Michael Crawford, now 74, has come out of retirement to play the emotionally repressed older Leo... Into designer Michael Pavelka's splendidly atmospheric chamber come the spectral figures and the memories that Leo has, for decades, suppressed... More of a play with music than a musical this Go-Between is starkly but imaginatively directed by Roger Haines. If you don't come out singing a tune, you'll certainly be singing the praises of a powerful theatrical and heartfelt exploration of a compelling novel." The Mail on Sunday

"Intimate chamber musicals don't normally find their way into the West End; this would surely never have done so without the casting of Michael Crawford, whose haunting presence adds so much to Richard Taylor and David Wood's adaptation of LP Hartley's novel...The gilt-encrusted set never changes, and all the music, which matches the intensity of the subject matter, is brilliantly performed by Nigel Lilley on a piano on stage. The choreography could be less creaky, but otherwise no whizz-bangery is needed as a superb cast sings its way into the heart of Hartley's memorable story." The Sunday Times

The Go Between in London at the Apollo Theatre previewed from 27 May 2016, opened on 7 June 2016 and closed on 15 October 2016.