This new song cycle brims with positivity and hope even when it seems disaster is imminent.

(c)Jeana Steanson

The Barn Theatre has certainly been one of the theatres that has been creating and championing new digital content throughout this difficult year with high quality and immensely entertaining productions such as The Picture of Dorian Gray and What A Carve Up! or celebrating musical theatre with the sleek The Secret Society of Leading Ladies.

Now, taking it a step further, the theatre’s Associate Artist Matthew Harvey has created a touching and charming song cycle about ordinary people staying positive in the wake of terrifying and impending disaster. Each of the different perspectives offer satisfying comfort in a variety of ways such as Courtney Stapleton and Eloise Davies performing ‘Let’s Skip Town’ that reflects all the travel that they had planned that has now been blighted due to the approaching disaster. Yet instead of being dismayed or downhearted they think about it in a positive light and is a real highlight song of the piece.

But there are also some lovely moments of reflection to be found as well as seen through ‘I Need You To Know’, performed with great tenderness and thoughtfulness by Irvine Iqbal and Lucy St. Louis’s rendition ‘You and I’ which feels like a lullaby in which it is soothing to listen to. Both are understated and impressively performed, making the audience sit up and pay attention.

However, perhaps the one song that doesn’t feel as though it quite fits in is Katie Shearman’s ‘I’m Getting a Dog’ – which although performed with great warmth and humour, it doesn’t quite strike the right tone in contrast with the other songs.

This being said, Now Or Never is still suitably impressive in terms of its ambition and style. Filmed in one continuous shot across seven spaces in the theatre, the piece has a wonderful and natural fluidity about it that sweeps the audience from one story to the next beautifully. Equally, I love the attention to detail in terms of each of the different locations to ensure that the audience is thoroughly absorbed in the characters and the music.

Overall, Now Or Never is a wonderfully vibrant and heartfelt piece that many people will be able to relate to and I’m sure that this will not be the last we see of it.

By Emma Clarendon

Now or Never was live streamed for one performance only on the 1st April. To keep up to date with what the Barn Theatre is up to visit: https://barntheatre.org.uk/ . It is now available to watch on demand until the 9th May.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐