A show like Everyone is talking about Jamie; that is set in Sheffield and premiered in Sheffield. It is on for next couple of weeks; but tickets may be scarce!
Specifically it is set in Park Hill Flats. The flats, when they were built in the 60s were thought to be height of luxury; particularly as they were built to house people, who had formerly lived in what was regarded as the slums of Sheffield. The flats were cities in the sky, with similar set ups in other cities. If you want to know more about these communities in the sky, a good resource is Western park museum. The museum has a kitchen; set up from one of the flats and a video about the flats in their heyday. Alas, over time the flats fell into disrepair and owing to the maze of corridors and bridges; crimes rose within the perimeters. By some, the harsh angular, imposing block of flats are regarded as eye sores. Other cities tore their equivalents down; with the result that, Park Hill flats were the last remaining example in the country and became grade 2 listed; meaning they could not be pulled down. Therefore instead of pulling them down, as they had to be preserved the idea was for them to be modernised by developers. To date only one of the blocks of flats has been developed. Many would regard the undeveloped flats as an eye sore, some would consider the developed ones also an eye sore.
The flats can be seen behind the train station. They are iconic to Sheffield. The play therefore offers a glimpse into this unique Sheffield institution. The set features a layout of a flat with skeleton of block of flats as backdrop, but I don’t think it is really representative of how the flats looks Across stage is lights spelling out ‘I love you, will you marry me’ (see Wonderwall360 for illustration of stage) which refers to graffiti stating the same on the flats, which has not just been retained following the development but, additionally enhanced with lights, however the story of this graffiti is not referenced in the play. I think much of the humour is Sheffield inside jokes. Such as Henderson’s relish. Although it mentions that the flats are listed I’m not sure that someone who was not already aware of the history would understand why that was.
There are three narratives of residents in the flat. Scoreboards are used to indicate the year at the start of each narrative and as each story progresses. At times as residents operate in same space the characters are seen in the same space, as if in parrellel universes, so that the narratives become entwined. The starting, date of the latter of the narratives is 2016; sometime after the result to leave the EU. The dialogue around that raised laughs at the irony, of still not knowing more about how we are to proceed than we did in 2016. The narratives features other significant events for the city, such as the demise of the steel industry, that had a large adverse affect on the city as also referenced in the Full Monty which is at Sheffield theatres in May.
As mentioned at the start this show is set to sellout out, over next few weeks, like Everyone is talking about Jamie did. However, I can not see it transferring to London successfully, like Everyone is talking about Jamie, because it is too Sheffield centric; to have universal appeal. Evidently I’am biased, given how much, I adore Everybody’s talking about Jamie but, I don’t see Standing on Sky Edge as being on the same scale. Despite music being written by Sheffield born Richard Hawley, I like Jamie’s music much more. Up until near the end of Sky edge, I thought it was watchable but, not outstanding. The ending slightly altered; that perception. No spoilers but, the ending was emotional! Over the next few weeks there will be tears in that theatre! A type of ending, that if you are with a loved one, you want to hold them close and if you are not with them you want to hear their voice.
4 thoughts on “Standing on Sky edge (theatre review)”