Girl From the North Country is the relentlessly melancholy story of a group of people living in America in the 1930s. The production (which feels like more of a play with music than a musical per se), is atmospheric and intimate, but ultimately misses the mark.
The plot-line of Girl From the North Country is sparse when it comes to both light humour and dramatic events, so the melancholy of the show goes uninterrupted. This may be an accurate reflection of the era, but it leaves you with a show which is not especially stirring.
Lots of moments which could have become significant were instead glossed over. I was left feeling unsatisfied and frustrated as various threads of plot were picked up, but then left unaddressed.
The atmosphere created by the music and staging of Girl From the North Country is another story. Plot aside, it is hard not to be drawn into the characters portrayed. Bob Dylan's music is woven seamlessly into the show and it is performed with passion and finesse. Sheila Atim has a particularly stunning voice and fills her character's songs with life.
So the plot of the show can be a bit unsatisfying, but Girl From the North Country is, in essence, a show whose merits rest on the soulful, intimate, melancholy atmosphere it creates. If that sparks your curiosity, then this may be a show you'd really enjoy.
Girl From the North Country is playing at London's Noël Coward Theatre until the 24th March 2018.
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