Saturday Night and Sunday Morning: The Musical
The posters for Stanley Kubrick’s 1962 adaptation of Vladimir Nabokov’s novel famously asked “How did they ever make a movie of ‘Lolita’?” When word emerged of the Musicworks production – which has just finished its triumphant premiere at the Nottingham Playhouse – I must admit that a similar question went through my mind: “How will ‘Saturday Night and Sunday Morning’ work as a musical?”
Musicworks was formed by John Osborne and Hazel Kerr in 2005, with a laudable aim: “to promote all forms of music in Nottingham by encouraging local musicians and providing a proper showcase for their talents”. And what better subject for a Nottingham production company wanting to premiere a new musical, in Nottingham, for the people of Nottingham, and performed by a Nottingham cast, than a novel by Alan Sillitoe.
When members of the Alan Sillitoe Committee attended last Wednesday’s performance, what could technically be described as an amateur production played to a packed house and was met by enthusiastic applause. In commissioning Stephen Williams (music) and Catherine Spoors (book and lyrics), Osborne and Ker struck gold. So too with Sarah Warnsby as director.
And kudos to Musicworks for turning over the set design to Abaigael Snape, a final year Theatre Design student at Nottingham Trent University. This is a production that truly champions not just home-grown talent, but young and up-and-coming talent. Design students were also involved in building and painting the plentiful props that transform the stage, variously, from the Seaton living room to the Raleigh factory, from the crowded bar of the White Horse to the back seats of a cinema, from the back yard in which Mrs Bull gets it from Arthur’s air rifle to the hustle and bustle of the Goose Fair.
The cast gave it their all. Tom Keeling gets the ballsy swagger of Arthur Seaton just right, Kate Williams and Nicola Bilton give fiery performances as sisters Brenda and Winnie, and Amanda Bruce is winsome yet steadfast as Doreen. Mark Pollard, Morven Harrison, Kate Taylor and Alice Bentham – as the Greek chorus who parody and occasionally stand in for the protagonists – are equally memorable.
Here’s hoping Musicworks take ‘Saturday Night and Sunday Morning: The Musical’ beyond Nottingham, preferably with the cast and crew already attached to it. Arthur Seaton versus ‘Les Miserables’ or ‘The Phantom of the Opera’? My money’s on the hard-drinking ladies’ man from the Midlands!
(Oh, and in case you were wondering – yes, there is a song called “Don’t Let the Bastards Grind You Down”.)
Read the LeftLion review here.
Visit Musicwork’s website here.