The National Youth Music Theatre revives a Sondheim classic, showcasing their boundless talent and energy; this young cast does an excellent job of tackling this notoriously difficult musical.

Credit: Konrad Bartelski

Merrily We Roll Along tells the story of three friends as they grow up together and subsequently grow apart. The audience meets the characters at the end of their story and travels backwards to the moment they first meet. The National Youth Music Theatre brings together the best young talent from across the country.

Sophie Lagden really stands out as Gussie; Lagden is not only a talented actress but has an incredibly mature voice. She shares some tender moments with Toby Owens as Franklin Shepard and together they display good chemistry. 

Madeline Morgan is an excellent choice for lead Mary Flynn. Morgan captivates the audience and pulls focus during the opening scene. Thomas Oxley gives us a fun rendition of Franklin Shepard, Inc. 

The rest of the cast keeps up with the talented leads making the most out of every solo moment. The singing is a real highlight with some impressive dynamics in the choral moments. Hattie Candler stands out as the TV News Woman; with excellent characterisation which makes this character entertaining, and brings a funny moment to this serious play. Imogen Grover also uses her incredible belts appropriately throughout the show. Matilda Penna plays Frankie Jr. and blends in well with her older cast mates.

Credit: Konrad Bartelski

The production would further benefit from the costuming being more consistent with the time periods, as at times the costumes are a muddle of different period pieces. It would also be good to see the cast be more aware of the audience sitting around the sides, with improvements necessary in the production’s blocking. 

The lack of diversity in this cast is rather disappointing for a company that aims to widen participation in musical theatre. It would be good to see NYMT aim to have similar levels of diversity to what we see on the West End. 

This fantastic young cast does an excellent job of bringing Sondheim’s classic to life. Although there is room for improvement this is balanced out by the incredible talent of the performers and the beautiful vocals of the cast.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

{🎟 AD – PR invite – Tickets were gifted in exchange for an honest review}

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