Reasons to see: Girl From The North Country

Reporter: Dan Austin, first published Thu 27 Jul 2017 17:41

Company of Girl From The North Country at The Old Vic (Photo: Manual Harlan)

Last night we caught the press performance of Girl From The North Country at the Old Vic, a new play by Conor McPherson. Weaving through the iconic songs of Bob Dylan, you are transported back to Depression-era Minnesota, a place full of hope and sorrow. It’s an enthralling piece of storytelling, propelled by a thrillingly talented cast.

Shirley Henderson (Elizabeth Laine) and Sam Reid (Gene Laine) in Girl from the North Country (Photo: Manuel Harlan)

Conor McPherson’s evocative story

Weaving a compelling narrative between Dylan’s already powerful lyrics is a difficult job but writer and director Conor McPherson’s play is a rich tapestry of stories, a town brought together by struggle – financial, emotional and physical. Each character has so many sides yet all are utterly believable and compelling.

Jim Norton (Mr Perry) and Sheila Atim (Marianne Laine) in Girl From The North Country (Photo: Manual Harlan)

Shelia Atim spellbinding as Marianne Laine

It’s hard to pick a stand out performance from this cast but Shelia Atim’s portrayal of Marianne Laine will stay with you forever. Able to convey a thousand different emotions with just one look, as well as possessing a voice that we’re not ashamed to admit brought us to tears several times, Shelia is so breath-taking that we’re dangerously close to running out of superlatives.

Arinze Kene (Joe Scott) in Girl From The North Country (Photo: Manual Harlan)

Delves deep into Dylan’s catalogue

From iconic masterpieces like “Make You Feel My Love” and “Hurricane” to tracks from his more recent outings, Girl From The North Country has all Dylan’s bases covered. The cast, one of the most vocally gifted ensembles, transform the songs – joyous, meditative and devastating, the musical runs the gamut of emotions. This is probably the closest you can (and should) get to Dylan-as-show tunes and it’s a masterpiece.

You can buy tickets via Official London Theatre. Girl From The North Country runs until 7 October.

Photos by Manuel Harlan.

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