Beginning in 1978, aspiring musician Daniel (Dylan Wynford) meets wannabe comedian Greg (Freddie Woodyatt) at an open mic night. What follows is an incredibly heart-wrenching and hopeful love story that spans across four decades as the couple wrestle with challenges, tragedies and acceptances.
A heartfelt story showing the highs of falling in love and the lows of staying in love.
The show interlinks three parts of one story – the beginning, middle and end of Daniel and Greg’s relationship. Each part is played by two different actors, who are often on stage together simultaneously, which made for a completely captivating performance. Whilst Wynford and Woodyatt show the sweet beginnings of romance, Taylor Rettke and Rhys Taylor portray a well-seasoned married couple and the life struggles that come with it.
It was also refreshing to see an older LGBTQ+ couple being represented, as Richard Costello and Leo Andrew portray Daniel and Greg at the later stage of their committed relationship – a side to gay relationships that isn’t always shared in the media. What is presented is a real love story; two people desperately trying to learn their dreams, who gradually learn to face reality together through being with each other.
Harry Blumenau’s direction was sensitive, with attention paid to every small detail, making the story feel simultaneously intimate and inclusive. Both Daniel and Greg were entirely alone in their bubble of a love story, but also being watched by an audience that felt very-much included. The directorial techniques used by Blumenau were not overdone, nor embellished, but helped the performance in achieving something a little different and placing the focus entirely on the couple and their story.
The other theatrical elements of the performance also aligned with this vision. The music and lyrics, written by Dennis Manning, were all performed live with the three actors playing Daniel using guitars. Not only did this create a warmer atmosphere, but showcased the talents of each actor as they layered their music with vocal harmony that was breath-taking. The stage was set out like an open mic night at a bar, which is where the story begins, and doesn’t change for the performance’s entirety as if to pertain to a central theme within the love story.
This performance showcases the importance of theatre spaces like Above The Stag Theatre, where LGBTQ+ stories are told with equal measures of inclusivity and sensitivity. Now and Then is a show that offers something a little bit different with its country style, but provides a story that anyone, regardless of sexuality, will fall in love with and relate to somehow. This show is definitely set to succeed and cannot be recommended enough.