"Standing At The Sky's Edge"by Chris Bush with original songs by Richard HawleyVenue: The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield.
Finally, this very evening, Shirley and I got to see this locally acclaimed musical that will soon transfer to The National Theatre in London. We were supposed to see it in March 2020 but then that little old thing called COVID came along and thwarted us.
We had great seats tonight but didn't know quite what to expect. We understood it would somehow feature brutalist high rise social housing that rose from a Sheffield hilltop called Sky's Edge in the late nineteen sixties. And we knew there'd be songs from a local musical hero called Richard Hawley. He lives just a stone's throw from this keyboard.
It was a clever technique to interweave the personal stories of three sets of residents - one from when the flats first opened, another from the nineteen eighties and the third from 2015.
There were many high points and funny moments created by a talented cast. The singing was excellent - made easier by the strong songs that Richard Hawley brought to the production. When I witnessed "Tonight the Streets Are Ours" as we approached the interval, I had a huge smile on my face and tears were trickling down my cheeks. It was one of those special moments in the theatre when you get lost in it all and forget yourself.
It was about ordinary people and their hopes and dreams and how they strive to be happy and contented in spite of everything that life throws at them.
The auditorium was full and at the end when the cast made their assembled bows, the entire audience rose to their feet and provided thunderous applause. We had shared a most beautiful and uplifting evening which I won't forget in a long time. It will be interesting to see how London audiences react to a musical that on the surface appears to be northern and parochial. I think there's much more to it than that.