Wow! What a truly magical, uplifting performance!
I was hooked from the beginning as the musical unfolded, telling the story of how a band of fishermen from the small fishing village Port Isaac became top-10 charting group and netting a £1m record deal.
From humble beginnings singing sea shanties in the local pub – the main setting of the performance – to the band’s dream of playing at Glastonbury, the sailors and families are bonded through hardship, but steeped in tradition, and the sense of community prevails.
There are many contrasts throughout – the bright lights and wealth of the big city (London) vs the small tightknit community of the fishing village; and there is a fear of change, of what the city might bring. Record promoter Danny is not welcome at first – he is mistrusted and represents all the bad that the city might bring.
There are plenty of laughs along the way, too – the nightclub scene is sheer genius, while the rocking boat caught up in a storm gives rise to plenty of comedic moments.
With moving bittersweet moments, triumph and tragedy, the pervading sense of community, friendship and hope shines through.
The sheer craft of how this real-life story is recreated through song, storytelling and staging is brilliant – it was no surprise that this packed theatre gave a much-deserved standing ovation at the of a truly uplifting performance.
By Cathy Parnham
Playing now til 6 May at Bristol Hippodrome