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Bob Dylan fans will love Girl From The North Country at Norwich Theatre Royal - review

Review: Girl From The North Country

Theatre Royal, Norwich by Sarah Hardy

This show is as far removed from most of today’s jukebox musicals as you can imagine! It’s set in 1930s America, in the Depression, and really reveals just how tough life was for all.

Girl From The North Country. Credit: Johan Persson
Girl From The North Country. Credit: Johan Persson

We meet the Laine family who are trying to scratch a living, running an overcrowded boarding house which attracts a diverse bunch of guests - all with their own tales of woe. The show, which started out in 2017, touches on racial tensions, family relationships and love.

Interwoven are around 20 Bob Dylan songs, performed by various members of this hugely talented cast, which add to the intense atmosphere. Interestingly, Dylan was born in the same town in which the musical is set so his lyrics do ring true.

There is no happy ending, no neat conclusion, but rather a sense of lingering sadness. Yet, don’t think the show is one long stream of misery, there are some great one liners which have the audience laughing out loud.

A stand out performance for me came from Frances McNamee as Elizabeth Laine, the dementia suffering mother whose flashes of clarity are spot on. Her version of Like A Rolling Stone just before the interval was a real highlight, while Justina Kehinde gives a very touching performance as the adopted daughter Marianne.

It’s a beautiful night out, which Dylan fans in particular will love.

The show continues until Saturday. Visit www.norwichtheatre.org

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