Been So Long (3 stars)

This article is from 2009.

Been So Long

Ellie Kurttz

Great tunes, pounding voices and beguiling dialogue

The Scottish premiere of Che Walker and Arthur Darvill’s straight play-turned musical brings a bittersweet reflection upon love and our fear of it, tempered by a sardonic streetwise wit, which, pleasingly, isn’t nearly as tough as it makes out.

The keeper of a no-longer fashionable London bar (noted soul singer Omar Lyefook) is smitten with a local single mother (Cat Simmons). She in turn is drawn to a jailbird and lady-killer (Arinze Kene), who himself is sought out by a vengeful wannabe lover (Harry Hepple) of one of his old conquests. The latter finds himself distracted by the attentions of scary local slapper (Naana Agyei-Ampadu).

The elaborate erotic minuet that follows is accompanied by a pounding rock score, some splendid voices (Agyei-Ampadu’s huge, tuneful tones, accompanying her bumptious character, are a particular pleasure) and Walker’s eccentric, beguiling, almost Jacobean dialogue. In the end, this piece says little about commitment, passion and emotion that we don’t already know, but it cleverly avoids a simple tie-up, while bawdy humour and first-rate ensemble work make it a terrific night out.

Traverse Theatre, 228 1404, until 30 Aug (not 24), times vary, £16–£18 (£11–£12).

Been So Long

  • 3 stars

Romance, revenge and rare groove rage in Che Walker and Arthur Darvill's neon-soaked musical.Premiered at London's Young Vic, the cast includes singing sensation, Omar.Smarten up and experience the soul/funk powerhouse of 'Been So Long'.

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