The magic of New York is effectively captured in 89 Nights, a new musical from Troubadour Stageworks. Alice, a Brit on her gap year, arrives with excitement in New York. She is ready to explore the city of her dreams. However, her visions are crushed when she finds herself nannying for a broken family that do little to welcome her. Things are turned around when she meets an unemployed artist who opens her eyes to America’s fascinating history and culture, but with only 89 nights on her ESTA Visa available, can she learn to fall in love with the city?
Showbiz-style tunes are balanced with more touching numbers.
The fun begins before the performance has even started with some hilarious ushers, who wryly invite audiences to the front row. The young cast consistently give high energy and big expression. Some of the cameo parts really stand out, such as a crazy old lady with all sorts of strange witticisms. There are times when miming could be a little more accurate. For instance, a scene at Thanksgiving dinner borders on incomprehensible as multiple characters enter and gesture frantically. Though the dance scenes are bright and animated, these could also use some polish to ensure synchronicity.
A lively score accompanies the action, and showbiz-style tunes are balanced with more touching numbers. A particularly notable song is Everything’s Fine, in which discordant sound cleverly undermines Alice’s confidence to show the anxieties hiding beneath. At times, the strident brass section of the band threatens to overshadow the vocals, but fortunately they do not diminish the beauty of Alice’s voice. As a chorus, the company are in fine voice.
Troubadour Stageworks bring the hustle and bustle of New York to the stage with humour and heartache. The romance of the city feels alive and vivid throughout an electrifying production. This is an intriguing journey of self-discovery.