Girl From The North Country Review

Recommended Age: 18
By: Emily Flett
Date: January 2020

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I got “the olds” tickets for Christmas to see Girl From The North Country yesterday. It’s been top of our must see for a little while.

I didn’t know the story before, and I’m ashamed to say I’m not really that familiar with Bob Dylan’s music. I would be able to sing along to one if it came on the radio but I couldn’t name one of his tracks if asked.

Mr F, dear old Pa and nanny are most definitely huge fans though. I absolutely loved the show, as did dear old Pa.

It’s set in 1930s America in the depression and is a pretty dark and tragic story with no light comedic relief. However, the singing was just out of this world. I didn’t get a programme so don’t know the names, but the mother, daughter and boxer were just incredible, every time they opened their mouths, I didn’t want them to stop. None of them had traditionally “beautiful” voices, but they had depth and gravel and clarity that was just breath-taking. I was utterly spellbound. They all had incredible voices in fact and came together in a glorious, very intimate way.

It’s not a musical, it’s a play with music in it. They use the Bob Dylan songs as a backdrop to the issues at the time, and they are hard hitting. Mental health, racism, poverty to name but a few, but also love and staying together through everything that is thrown at you. The songs are deconstructed to a point that I didn’t recognise the more famous ones, but I did recognise the lyrics. This didn’t make any difference to me as I loved how they did it, and especially those voices!

Dear old Pa and I absolutely loved it, but nanny and Mr F were not fans. I think being huge Bob Dylan fans they were expecting more familiarity from the music which just wasn’t there.

I almost saw the show as two different parts, the singing, and then the play. The singing is sublime, I could have listened to them over and over again. The play was beautifully acted, the set was clever and simple, the lighting lovely and one particular effect with a disco ball really was gorgeous. They should use a disco ball like that in every theatre! It did need a bit of a lift for me though, it was very dark and I was looking for something to lift the depression. There was a happy ending but I wanted more.

It’s at the Gielgud (where the Les mis concert was) so a beautiful theatre.

We had an amazing view from back of the dress. I did move because legroom was too tight for me and dear old Pa struggled with the stairs, we went to the dress slips and it was a bit restricted but that didn’t matter because the voices just carried us away.

Front of house staff were just incredible, so kind and helpful, the access host Myles really went above and beyond to help us and I will be writing in to the theatre manager to highlight this.  The toilets have wonderful quilted loo roll as all Delfont theatres do and there were no outrageous queues.

Funny how the 5 of us went and were so split in our views of it.

Would I go and see it again? No. But am I glad I’ve seen it? Absolutely!

Age: I would say over 18s really, not for content but that they just wouldn’t get it much younger

It’s not one for children, small and noisy has pretty sophisticated tastes for a 12 year old, and she loved the music but was bored with the play. It just didn’t move quickly enough for her and she didn’t have a clue what was going on, just as well really with the subject matter.

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