From Up Here

High above the hustling, bustling streets of New York city, the Brooklyn bridge serves as the perfect setting for five New Yorkers to seek refuge from their busy lives. From Up Here is a new musical by Aaron Lee Lambert that poses questions about the here and now, the choices that dictate our future and the decisions that shape our relationships with one another.

The talented cast were memorable and it’s clear they all have a substantial amount of experience, all they needed was a musical that was up to the same standard

Having performed at the Warren myself, I was interested to see how the cast would adapt an end-on stage to convincingly portray the Brooklyn Bridge. Rather than employing an overbearing and complex set, a pleasingly simple and effective approach was taken. It was subtle and left enough room for the imagination to work its magic. The combination of lighting, sound effects and a large suspended photograph of the Brooklyn Bridge made my initial experience a promising one.

The musical is full of physicality and collaborative activity, but what made the piece extremely interesting was the actors’ ability to create depth within the set. Using a rope as a device to skilfully convey the Brooklyn Bridge was captivating and made the whole experience much more believable. The musical was well cast; each actor fulfilled their role and committed themselves fully. A comical performance from Tina Jackson really showed off the calibre of acting amongst the cast and made the whole experience that little more worthwhile. Harmonies were tight and every voice was unique and distinguishable, though occasionally some voices were lost due to the lack of microphones upstage.

The major flaw is the lack of narrative. There is little substance to the storyline and I found myself completely disconnected due to insufficient characterisation. I didn’t believe the struggle within each character's life and the contemplation of suicide meant nothing, as there wasn’t time to empathise with the situations presented. What was even more disappointing is that the actors were more than capable of performing a musical with a little more body to it. They were worthy of something gritty and profound and I came away disappointed. From Up Here presented a musical that was just as simplistic as its set. The music is a bit samey throughout and I didn’t come away saying ‘I liked that song’, because once they were sung I didn’t remember them. A lot of musicals have a diverse collection of different numbers, but the music in this case became tedious and the songs were forgotten once I had left the theatre.

Nevertheless, the talented cast were memorable and it’s clear they all have a substantial amount of experience, all they needed was a musical that was up to the same standard - unfortunately it couldn’t be provided in this case.

Reviews by Lucy Skinner

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Performances

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The Blurb

A beautiful musical, 'From Up Here' explores time, change and the choices that shape the lives of five very different people whose paths cross in the most unlikely of ways. Through a score of vibrant and memorable songs, you will find your own story among their experiences. Originally produced by Perfect Pitch in 2012.

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