The Curious Case of Benjamin Button ★★★★ Southwark Playhouse | May 22 - Jul 1, 2023

This delightful new musical is loosely based on F. Scott Fitzgerald's short story of the same name and reflects the author's obsession with the irreversible nature of time and its effect on love. In The Great Gatsby, the protagonist had a doomed determination to hold onto the past and his youthful infatuation. Here, Benjamin loses his love and their life to the inevitability of his becoming younger. This current version of Fitzgerald's fable is set in Cornwall, and the score of the show captures the rhythm and flavour of Celtic music. Darren Clark's music and lyrics are both catchy and moving. Songs like "Matter of Time," "The Moon and The Sea" and "A Little Life" not only advance the narrative, but are memorable in their own right. The tale is told by an amazing cast who not only sing and act but also serve as the band for the piece. They move seamlessly from being the chorus of Benjamin's story to acting out the various parts. Jamie Parker as Benjamin Button manages the near impossible task of becoming younger, and Molly Osborne as Elowen ages before our eyes. Along with the rest of the cast, they put in strong and convincing performances. Your enjoyment of this evening might depend somewhat on the elasticity of your capacity to suspend disbelief. For us, the premise of the aging process working in reverse was a difficult one, but if you can get over the absurdity of that idea, this a show that is full of energy and charm.

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Juan Coolio.

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