Girl from the North Country – With music by Bob Dylan
Love Bob Dylan? You're going to adore Girl From the North Country. Dating back to 2017 with a book from Conor McPherson and tunes by Dylan himself, it has already enjoyed a limited 12 week run in theatreland. Now it's back in the shape of a revival at the Gielgud theatre, having already delighted audiences Off-Broadway at New Yorks's Public Theater.
The story? Your destination is Duluth in Minnesota. It's 1934, the winter is harsh, and the USA is struggling to deal with The Great Depression. Dr. Walker, physician to the Laine family, is our narrator. Pessimistic Nick Laine runs a tatty guest house on which the bank is threatening to foreclose. Nick is desperate to save his family from homelessness. Elizabeth, Nick's wife, suffers from a kind of dementia which sees her swinging from odd detachment to weird outbursts that are increasingly hard to handle. Gene, the son, is in his early 20s and the adopted daughter Marianne is just 19 and five months pregnant.
Marianne won't reveal the father of her child. Nick wants her to marry the town's shoe mender, Mr. Perry, but it's tricky. Marianne is a black girl living with a white family, abandoned as a baby and brought up by Nick and Elizabeth. The Burkes also live at the guest house. Mr. Burke lost his business in the financial crash, and he's accompanied by Mrs Burke and their son Elias, who has a learning disability.
Gene can't seem to handle life. He's keen to become a writer but alcoholic binges hinder his progress. No wonder his fiancée leaves him for a man with a better future. Nick has an intimate relationship with Mrs. Neilsen, a guest and widow, a woman waiting for her late husband's will to go through probate. Together they fantasise about a better future. One night during a storm, a dodgy 'reverend' and bible salesman called Marlowe and a boxer, Joe Scott, arrive and catalyse change for everyone who lives in the guest house.
With 19 Bob Dylan songs to enjoy, played on instruments from the 1930s, no wonder the cast recording is such a hit. The tunes include Sign On The Window, Went To See The Gypsy, Tight Connection to My Heart (Has Anybody Seen My Love), Slow Train and more. Why not buy the CD, called The Music Which Inspired Girl From The North Country: The Original Bob Dylan Recordings, and sing your heart out at home, too?
Who is this show for?
This show is ideal for people aged 13 or more.
What to expect:Acting
Recommended for:Anyone (69%)
Enjoyed every minute
Reviewed on 11 March 2018 by Lilamani, Watford, United Kingdom
Reviewed on 07 March 2018 by Michael, Hamburg, Germany
Reviewed on 07 January 2018 by Rosaleen, Warlingham, United Kingdom
Brilliant story, fabulous acting and amazing vocals. Any lover of the theatre who also appreciates Bob Dylan's work, should not miss this treat.
Reviewed on 24 September 2017 by Gloria, Bournemouth, United Kingdom
Reviewed on 16 September 2017 by William, Crested Butte, United States
Reviewed on 12 September 2017 by Donna, London, United Kingdom
A really top class evening; a moving storyline with excellent music and singing.Hope Bob Dylan visits the show. It is deserving of his accolade !
Reviewed on 17 August 2017 by Michael, Whitstable, United Kingdom
Reviewed on 06 August 2017 by Adela, Sevenoaks, United Kingdom
Thank you for your email . It is not customary for me to comment about anything at all but you have asked. The performance last night moves me to do so . I write not simply out of sympathy for (in the main) a delightfully talented cast obliged now forever to be associated with this train wreck but out of genuine astonishment that anyone could seek to call this watchable drama blend it with a musical and end up with a contradictory mess that is markedly less than the sum of its parts (and that given the evident quality of some of the singing and the choreography was the real tragedy of the evening ). If you have nothing to say about a character that reveals any insight into the human condition introducing (yet) another character about whom you have nothing to say does not develop a meaningful story line and generates no empathy for any of the characters whatsoever . Nor when you have nothing to say does introducing a song which for the most part neither advances the story line nor bears any relevance to it . So in synopsis we have: bad thing happens to mentally or financially impoverished(or both) person ,marginally relevant or irrelevant Dylan song and repeat (interpolating” All along the Watchtower”? Really ?Because it made for a jolly good singsong ? ) No wit ,no charm no humour and strangely the dramatic twist of having a narrator speak from the grave saves none of this . More than the cursory knowledge of the Dylan songbook evidenced would have stood the effort in better stead . And that may have led to the understanding that almost no vocalists can cover a Dylan song for want of his vocal range . One or two did so admirably .One or two did not. A wasted opportunity that needed more than a cluttered and paper thin story line and needed a script ,
Reviewed on 05 August 2017 by Anthony, Liss, United Kingdom
Wonderful rivetting entertainment with orginal use of Dylan's music and storytelling. Loved it!
Reviewed on 25 July 2017 by Sandra, Milsons Point, Australia
by Phil Willmott | Thursday, August 31 2017, 07:48
I'd heard conflicting things about this show, most of the reviews have been glowing but the New York Times critic and a few of my friends had been less enthusiastic.
I'm glad I didn't listen to them and checked it out for myself because I thought it exceptional.Review: GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY at the Old Vic