Apartment 40c is a new musical written by the artistic directors of London Theatre Workshop, Tom Lees and Ray Rackham. The show tells a story of love and relationships and how time and choice can affect how life unravels. The whole show takes place over one night starting with the young Katie (Alex Crossley) and Eddie (Alex James Ellison) who find themselves in a rather unexpected situation. The show follows the pair as they grow into Kate (Lizzie Wofford) and Ed (Johnjo Flynn) and eventually Kathryn (Nova Skipp) and Edward (Peter Gerald).
The three life stages all perform at the same time on the same stage and yet make a spectacular job of not acknowledging their fellow cast members. The past, present and future all become one as the characters explore the themes of love, happiness, regret and missed chances.
Though the story is really quite beautiful, it feels rather ordinary and not particularly anything special. Luckily, the cast, despite their faltering accents, are the best part of this entire show. The small cast expertly move around each other on the intimate stage and effortlessly transform the set between the generations. They skilfully manage to pass props from one to another while remaining very set in their own time zone. The themes of the show also make a smooth transition throughout the couples’ interactions and are all very realistic and identifiable in the real world too.
As a younger audience member, it is a bit difficult to identify with Kate/Kathryn and Ed/Edward’s issues which makes the story hard to relate to and so some of the beauty of the relationship is a bit lost on me. As the audience get to know the couples, at the different stages of their life, they travel through their happy times and their hardships. The youngest pair leave the audience with a feeling of hopefulness, while the older pair show life teaching its lessons.
The songs are not particularly memorable and the lyrics are fairly mediocre; however, they are all sung beautifully and are wonderfully accompanied by the small band.
This musical has been changed since its first performance in December 2014 at London’s boutique theatre in the heart of Fulham. If you have seen it before then it’s worth going again to see how the changes affect the story. If you haven’t yet seen it then it’s a decent story with a heartfelt message.
Apartment 40C is playing at St James Studio until 12 April. For tickets and more information, see the St James Theatre website. Photo by Matthew Lees.