There are six big reasons to see this show, namely, every member of the cast. It’s a song cycle, from composer Scott Alan, with numbers vaguely related to relationships: their beginning and endings, and the fears, ambitions and dreams they provoke, including parenthood. And it’s important to remember the nature of the piece – as a showcase for Alan’s work – which is performed with upmost professionalism by an impressive collection of West End regulars.
Alan also directs and makes an effort to interweave the numbers, which works better musically than theatrically. There are recurring characters, but this is sometimes confusing and, in one instance (a number called Quicksand), downright jarring. But there’s no pretence at an over-arching story – the music is the focus and it’s strong. It’s no surprise Alan is so successful or boasts so many collaborators. His compositions have instant appeal and his carefully constructed melodies are delightfully lyrical. The lyrics themselves, though, are poor, crammed with repetition and cliché. Generally downbeat, the work is heavy on emotion and very light on humour. The sincerity might grate – it’s a question of taste –and there’s a general air of entitlement in the songs, Nothing More is a good case in point, a sweet duet where “All I want” turns out to be quite a long list!
The performers make the evening by squeezing the most out of the songs. Emma Hatton get the show off to a great start with a song about a performer’s ambitions – it’s a mock audition that makes you certain she would get any job. Andy Coxon and Adrian Hansel impress with their acting skills, as well as their voices, as they perform as a couple in a number of songs. Some of these are sickly sweet, so credit to both for grounding the pieces a little. Jodie Jacobs also adds value to her numbers; in truth she has more personality than the songs she’s singing, and she sounds great. Likewise, the strong voices of Dean John-Wilson and Alexia Khadime propel the songs. They both have beautiful voices, manage to make most of the earnestness convincing and, with a mix of sweetness and sheer power, are a privilege to hear. Accompanied by just piano and violin, The Distance You Have Comeprovides a chance to hear all six top-notch talents in an intimate setting that is well worth travelling for.
Until 28 October 2018
Photos by Darren Bell