Reviews are coming for the world premiere of new musical Then, Now & Next at Southwark Playhouse Borough starring Alice Fearn.
The cast includes Alice Fearn (Wicked, Come From Away, Les Miserables), Tori Allen-Martin (Park Bench), Justin Brett (Million Dollar Quartet), Peter Hannah (Waitress) and Joaquin Pedro Valdes (Disney’s The Lion King, Death Note The Musical).
In the band are musical director and keys player Honor Halford-MacLeod, guitarist James William-Pattison, cellist Alice Luddington and percussionist Tom Bennett.
This new musical is written by Christopher J Orton (My Land’s Shore) and Jon Robyns (currently playing the Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera) in a first-time collaboration for the writing team.
Directed by Julie Atherton, the creative team also includes Musical director Honor Halford-MacLeod; Movement director Alexzandra Sarmiento; Set and costume designer Bob Sterrett; Lighting designer Adam King; Sound designer Raffaela Pancucci; Production manager Titch Gosling; Dramaturgy Kate Golledge; Stage manager Zoe Leonard; Assistant stage manager Odette Robertson; and Sound technician Amber Carey.
In the show, Alex Shaw (Alice Fearn) is struggling with a difficult past, and follows her journey over twenty years, through two loves – young, adventurous idealist, Stephen, and the older, reliable and charming Peter – as she gathers the scattered chapters of her life, in the hope of re-building her story and asking if she will ever be more than just “fine”. Through Alex’s experiences, her uplifting story questions how relationships can change over time and explores what it takes to truly heal.
Then, Now & Next is playing at Southwark Playhouse Borough until 29 July 2023.
Read reviews including the Guardian and The Stage, with more reviews to be added.
Then, Now & Next reviews
"Quick-witted double love story"
"Bittersweet and quietly funny musical illustrates the unpredictability of life and love"
"This new musical about love – falling into it, losing it, finding it again – could have wandered into dangerously banal territory. But actors-turned-writers and former Spamalot cast members Christopher J Orton and Jon Robyns have managed to take the universal truths that life can only move forwards and healing takes time, and explore them in a two-part love story that feels fresh and original at every turn. Directed by Julie Atherton, this inaugural, quietly funny production straddles light and dark, and is beautifully bittersweet."
"[Alice Fearn's] a soaring musical theatre talent, and it’s thrilling to see her perform up close on such a small stage. Peter Hannah matches her energy as Peter, mastering the comic timing of his character’s under-the-breath asides, while Joaquin Pedro Valdes brings gentle charisma to the role of Stephen. Playing all other parts and bouncing impressively between wildly different personas are the versatile Tori Allen-Martin and Justin Brett."
"This world premiere feels like the beginning of a journey for a show that has potential to grow and develop. If a quick-witted double love story illustrating the unpredictability of life appeals, catch it here in its infancy."
"This new musical from Christopher J Orton and Jon Robyns, first conceived when they were acting together in Monty Python’s Spamalot, is a promising debut that brims with both humour and heart."
"Fearn, recently seen in Come From Away, gives an empathetic and moving portrayal of Alice, even if the character is overly defined by the men in her life (her main personality trait seems to be a fondness for reading)."
" It also at times feels an overly twee and somewhat dated portrayal of contemporary relationships; both men are so perfect they become anodyne. But the same accusation cannot be levelled at the music, which is lushly orchestrated and arranged by Ben Goddard-Young."