Ginger Hibiscus | Ginger Hibiscus |REVIEW: Apartment 40C at the London Theatre Workshop
Ginger Hibiscus |REVIEW: Apartment 40C at the London Theatre Workshop
Ginger Hibiscus |REVIEW: Apartment 40C at the London Theatre Workshop
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07 Dec REVIEW: Apartment 40C at the London Theatre Workshop

The London Theatre Workshop presents Apartment 40C, a beautifully moving exploration of love and commitment, of loss and of choice. The first new musical conceived, written, workshopped and now mounted as a full production in the London Theatre Workshop, Apartment 40C is the creation of its two artistic directors, writer Ray Rackham and composer/musician Tom Lees, a musical born and nurtured from seeds that had promised to grow into a play, but that have flourished into so much more.

Apartment 40C has six characters – three couples – who share the same apartment, the same furniture, the same Chinese takeaway, divided only by the years. Over the course of an evening, we experience their romance, their pain, their heartbreak, hope and optimism. Hinging on the choices and circumstances of the characters, the show asks not what’s going to happen, but how will they get there?

Emotion is an integral strand in the fabric of the show, the weft to the warp of the storyline. Woven inextricably throughout, it rises out of the surface like a golden thread, glimmering there for a moment of contemplation, before diving back beneath the surface. The show takes a Hollywood-free long, hard, realistic look at relationships, presenting them truthfully from the giddy heights of lust through to heartbreaking moments when impossible decisions have to be made. Refreshingly honest, it serves to engage the audience to an unprecedented level, compounded by understated acting and timeless everyday setting.

The unanimously outstanding cast are testament to the decision making prowess of the creative team. Having graduated from Mountview only this year, Lizzie Wofford proves herself to be one to watch as Kate, her achingly beautiful voice sighing with disappointment as she plays the stay at home wife let down by her husband once again.

Tom Lees‘ score is piqued by melodies that get into your head and under your skin, that swirl around and around, promising to still be there days later, as Rackham’s lyrics resound on and on. One of the musical highlights is Drew Weston singing “Midnight Hours,” a performance that lands heavy on your heart but ever so gently on your ears. By stark contract, “Moving to the City” has all the energy and blind optimism of someone shaking off the shackles to go and “live the dream,” moving into a place they don’t quite understand, in search of a future that’s just certain to be sparkling. The song epitomises Eddie, played by a lovely Alex James Ellison with the arrogance of youth, and an uncertain boyish charm. Opposite Ellison, Alex Crossley makes a brilliant professional debut as Katie, as stubborn and fiercely academic as she is vulnerable. A girl playing at being grown up.

Despite the often poignant themes in Apartment 40C, somehow it doesn’t offer a bleak perspective on relationships, but rather considers the elements of choice- and of chance- in our relationships and in our lives. As the show comes to a close and the strands of the story are drawn together in a breathtakingly beautiful closing sequence, it really is apparent that something special has been created in the apartment above a pub in Fulham.

For tickets and information:
Venue: London Theatre Workshop
Dates: 3rd – 20th December 2014

Star Rating

Ginger Hibiscus don’t like using stars as a headline; we think they’re too reductionist, and that decision-making based on stars misses the point of a review. Just as you wouldn’t judge a personality using a five-point scale, theatre is multi-dimensional. So have a read, and then look at the stars afterwards.
Okay, fine, but how many stars do you give it? Click here