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The Remains of the Day
On from 01 Sep 2010 till 25 Sep 2010
Union Theatre
by Alex Loveless (based on the book by Kazuo Ishiguro)
Genre(s): Musical

Tickets: £15.50 / (£15.10 concessions)

About: The Remains of the Day

Based on the Novel ‘The Remains of the Day’ by Kazuo Ishiguro
Music, Book & Lyrics by Alex Loveless
Directed by Chris Loveless
Movement Director Omar F. Okai
Instrumental Arrangements & Ensemble Vocal Arrangements by Rowland Lee
Musical Director/Dance Music & Vocal Arrangements by Richard Bates

Darlington Hall lies dormant, its prior distinction a passing memory. In the twilight of his life, Stevens, long-standing and devoted butler to the late Lord Darlington struggles to meet the needs of its new owner.

Convinced he requires more staff in order to remedy his professional woes, Stevens sets out to meet his one-time housekeeper and bring her back to Darlington Hall. But as his journey progresses, Stevens begins to question his former employer’s convictions and to wonder whether he has lost much more than simply a housekeeper.

The Remains of the Day examines the nature of dignity and the intellectual and emotional servitude of blind devotion.

Alex Loveless’ evocative score combines the immediacy of musical theatre with classical and folk traditions of the early 20th Century to form a compelling musical drama.

Reviews

**** Evening Standard, Fiona Mountford – September 2010

A cursory glance at The Remains of the Day, a novel of subtlety and nuance, would suggest it is an unlikely candidate to be turned into a musical, a genre that often over-emphasises the obvious. Kazuo Ishiguro’s masterful study of quintessential English reserve in the first half of the last century, turned into a magnificent Merchant Ivory film starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson, doesn’t exactly beg to have songs inserted. Yet from such seemingly unpromising source material Alex Loveless has crafted a sophisticated piece of musical theatre.

A strong sense of magisterial Darlington Hall, home of a Nazi-sympathising lord and place of work for butler Mr Stevens (Stephen Rashbrook) and housekeeper Miss Kenton (Lucy Bradshaw) is skilfully evoked in the small playing space, and director Chris Loveless captures the milieu perfectly via maids whispering in corners. The central thrust of the narrative is the years-long non-romance between the central characters, due to the obsessively decorous Stevens putting “service” before any vestige of a personal life.

Rashbrook gives a marvelously restrained performance that hints at the unexplored depths of Stevens’s soul and he and Bradshaw, plus a top-notch ensemble, make easy work of the songs, many of which have a solemn and hymn-like feel. It’s not all gloom, though, with the frothy music hall number The End of the Pier to lighten the mood. A canny West End producer could do far worse than to tweak this fine show for a transfer.

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