Been So Long
Great tunes, pounding voices and beguiling dialogue
This article is from 2009.
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).