A simple yet effective story line following the lives of six individuals who juggle the constant challenges of life, depression, heartache and love; The Distance You Have Come is a warm and intelligent story which many can relate to on multiple levels; Scott Alan’s lyrics are compassionate and an honest tribute to the struggles many young people experience. It is interesting to see how the already published song cycles of Alan’s music translates into a story of substance within such a lush space that is The Cockpit theatre as it exposes the performers. Perhaps due to a tight budget allocation or precious ownership of material, the direction from Alan himself feels fragile. This is not at all something to get het up about though!
The cast is worth every effort to haul yourself down to the theatre! A particular mention has to be given to Joe (played by Dean John-Wilson), who gives an awe-inspiring performance with stunning vocals, particularly in one of Alan’s most popular songs found in every young man’s repertoire, ‘Again’. Similarly, Maisey (played by Emma Hatton) smashes the well-known ‘I’m a Star’ with such connection to the lyrics that it becomes a masterpiece.
Without putting too much of a downer on a so-far cracking review; I am frustrated with their lack of choices and want to shake them out of their somewhat monotonous ruts! It is hard to believe that the stakes are so low at times particularly when relationships haven’t seen each other in years! However, despite some odd choices there are also a lot of drawing moments (without trying to spoil too much) involving heart-wrenching vulnerability and exposing the darker sides of depression exploring what it is like to feel trapped in your own bed on days when anxiety wins.
Jodie Jacobs, who I recently saw in the completely contrasting Unexpected Joy at the Southwark Playhouse, brings a constant bubbly energy, giving light to the unimaginable shade, fighting a want to love and be loved. Her comic timing allows us to relax and consistently reminds us that we are all human and that we all share in good days and bad days. Alan really picks up on this humanistic concept of equality whether that be holding a baby in your arms for the first time or leaving someone you love because you know you have to.
A beautifully strung together collection of Alan’s favourite pieces in a moving piece exploring both the good days and the bad. If you need a reminder that you are supported, I highly recommend The Distance You Have Come.
The Distance You Have Come is playing The Cockpit until 28 October. For more information and tickets, please click here.