I have never studied performing arts/drama academically at any point in my life but I know many people who have. I know that usually, the course involves the participants having to create new and exciting pieces of theatre which can be mentally draining for many people. I once overheard someone discussing how they wanted to produce a show based on the classic board game ‘snakes and ladder’ where a different scene would play out dependent on what square a character lands on. This idea was very complex and would require a lot of organisation which cause the creator a lot of stress when working on it. Sometimes the most simple premise is the easiest to portray! Take the narrative of the 2012 soundtrack to “lift” for example, the story is pretty much documenting the lives of a group of people you would find in a lift. What is great about the story is that people often don’t think about the lives of people when you are stood next to them in an elevator they are more focused on their daily objectives so exploring other peoples stories might go to develop a more widespread sense of empathy among the listeners. I can guarantee that at some point or other we have all been concerned that the lift we are on would break down and we would be stuck in there with a stranger (which is a good idea of a new play for any creatives out there) but luckily this does not happen in ‘lift’ instead the eight characters only spend less than a minute of their lives together. From my listening to the cast recording, I believe this whole show could be done with very little staging and props etc but rather the focus is on the emotions and story of each of the characters. The story and characters are incredibly relatable and so it makes sense that all the over-the-topness has been stripped back! The 2012 recording of “Lift” is billed as a concept album with just 12 tracks that comes in at just 47 minutes. Usually, concept albums are early stages of shows but this one, in my opinion, is fully realised and ready to be performed (I am aware that this show has been staged at Soho theatre.)
When I first listened to “she meets him/one minute in a lift” I thought it was just your classic opening number the introduces characters and the story. It is incredibly chaotic at first listen as every character has a short amount of time to tell a brief introduction to their story. What is clever about this show however is that the introductions are direct influences to the characters’ songs later in the show. I was very impressed that they had managed to weave a story through this song that was later expanded in the show as it grips the audience even more and make it a much for consistent show throughout! The next two songs “link/diversion ends” and “diversion ends 2” contain a lot of intense sexual references and very strong language. These ARE NOT suitable for a young audience in any way but a more mature audience will find this comedy in these songs. These are delivered by the gay character in the show which I enjoyed as there was no massive coming out moment that aims to normalise lgbt+ people. However, this character discusses how he catfishes other men (as he pretends to be a female) which is a hyper-modern reference and again builds on the relatability for the 21st-century audience. The song “That rainy day” was flawlessly performed by Jennifer Tierney who is a very talented vocalist. This song was very emotionally driven and the cliffhanger ending did tug off the old heartstrings. My favourite song in this show was “Top Of The City” is an uplifting song that halfway through has a change in tempo that becomes very empowering! This song is a duet between Jack Shalloo and Jennifer Tierney whose voices worked flawlessly together despite being two very contrasting voice styles. Jack has a much more intense voice whereas Jennifer has softer more innocent sounds which made for a beautiful contrast that was incredible to listen to!
Overall, this is a show with an incredible concept that focuses on real-life situations and stories which many people will be able to relate to. The songs are beautifully written and flawlessly performed that will have you feeling a range of emotions! I would rate this show 4.5 stars out of 5 and would recommend it for anyone interested in innovative British theatre!