Your Lie In April – The Musical ★★★★★ Harold Pinter Theatre | Jun 28 - Sep 21, 2024

Based on the popular Manga of Naoshi Arakawa, Your Lie In April – The Musical tells the story of a young, prize-winning pianist who after his mother's death loses his ability to hear the piano. The passing of his perfectionist parent leads the young virtuoso, Kōsei, to abandon his vocation and to sink into despair. Although he is supported by his friends, Ryōta and Tsubaki, it is not until the enthusiastic and free-spirited violinist, Kaori, comes along that he begins to rediscover his aptitude for music. This is a sweet and moving story which explores the complexity of love and the mixed sources of artistry. Eventually, Kōsei comes to terms with his mother's strictness, which actually came from a place of love and from the fear that her son would soon be left on his own. At the same time, he learns from Kaori the importance of infusing life and artistic technique with emotion and spontaneity. Frank Wildhorn has written a lovely score and songs such as "Just Like A Movie" and "One Hundred Thousand Million Stars" are instantly relatable. Dean John Wilson does a nice turn as the slow, but not insensitive jock, Ryōta, and Rachel Clare Chan is great fun as the persistent, but passed-over Tsubaki. Her rendition of "Where's My Superhero?" is a high point. As Kaori, Mia Kobayashi moves nicely from perky to poignant, while displaying a voice that is quite stunning. Ultimately, however, this show centres around Zheng Xi Yong's Kōsei. His singing and acting both hit the mark, but when he actually overcomes his anxieties and plays the piano, the moment is truly show-stopping. That performance makes sense of everything that has gone before, bringing a level of realism to the story which resonates with the lessons Kōsei learns from his relationship with his mother and Kaori. If art is indeed born from the twin sources of technique and passion, then the strength of Your Lie In April – The Musical is to honour both.

Rated: ★★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Craig Sugden

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