Mark Schoenfeld and Barri McPherson’s modern fairytale musical is evocatively brought to life in Dean Johnson’s stylish production.
A celebration of music, storytelling, family and ambition BKLYN the musical is a beautifully told story that captures the attention from start to finish in this stylishly filmed production.
The musical begins with a troupe of talented street performers who come together to tell the story of Brooklyn – a young girl searching for her father. But along the way she discovers her singing talent and uses it to try and help find him, while dealing with her new fame that doesn’t go down well with everybody she meets.
Directed beautifully by Dean Johnson, there is a real bohemian style that underlines this production drawing the audience into the narrative effectively – particularly during the earlier moments in the show that set up Brooklyn’s heartbreaking story. The way in which the set is so rustic and makes full use of the location in which it has been filmed is wonderful, with moments created to feel like a music video to place the music at the centre of the story as seen during the gorgeous sequence to ‘Once Upon a Time’ which uses close up shots and soft lighting to haunting effect. Everything about the way in which it has been filmed has plenty of heart and soul about it and makes you really feel what is going on.
Every sequence has been so meticulously put together that it draws out the themes of the musical in a subtle but heartfelt way – with the scenes between Brooklyn and her mother Faith early on and then those later on when Brooklyn discovers the truth about her father being really nicely framed to add real intimacy and even drama to the piece.
Of course, with music playing such a central part to the story as well as opposed to simply adding extra understanding of the narrative, Mark Schoenfeld and Barri McPherson’s music wonderfully incorporates a wonderful range of styles to reflect this. Highlights musically, include the vibrant and spirited ‘A Good Crowd Goin”, the dynamic ‘Superlover’ and soulful ‘Magic Man’ – all of which celebrate the diversity of music.
There is a great warmth and strong emotional core to the production that is enhanced by the strength of the performances of the cast. Emma Kingston gets the balance between showing Brooklyn’s delicate personality with her determination to find her father spot on. It is a tender performance that comes across as being very genuine. Elsewhere, Jamie Muscato captures Taylor’s torment and inner conflict really well that it is a shame that we don’t see more of him. His rendition of ‘Love Was a Song’ is a real highlight. Meanwhile, Newtion Matthews as the Street Singer makes for a compelling narrator, delivering the narrative with a great poetic style. Marisha Wallace is also strong support as the diva Paradice worrying that Brooklyn is going to steal her fame – showcasing jst enough vulnerability to keep the audience on side in some respect. Sejal Keshwala offers an emotionally raw performance as Faith that effectively captures the audience’s attention.
Gorgeously heartfelt, this production of BKLYN is special to watch from start to finish. It has a strong emotional core thanks to the way in which it has been filmed that allows the audience to see the characters and the story in great detail, while ensuring that anyone watching can relate to it in some way. A real triumph of a production.
By Emma Clarendon
BKLYN – The Musical will be streamed via Stream.Theatre until the 4th April.