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Gritty City Love Story – Standing at the Sky’s Edge



A relaxing trip to the theatre starts before the show does.


While Standing at the Sky’s Edge is an amazing ensemble piece of theatre (of which much more in a minute), we’d like to give a first round of applause for the brilliant front-of-house staff at London's Gillian Lynne Theatre.


We were early into the auditorium, so had the chance to witness several members of staff really going above and beyond. One usher gently and unobtrusively suddenly appeared at the side of a theatre-goer using a walking stick, to guide them safely to their seat.


Another quickly realised a guest with mobility problems had booked a seat where they’d have to get up and down to let other ticket holders pass – so without being asked and without fuss, moved them to an aisle end.


Before the lights went down the Gillian Lynne crew had created an experience for those two disabled theatregoers to remember for all the right reasons.


And so to the show. Its pedigree, winner of the Best New Musical award at the 2023 Olivier Awards, speaks for itself.


It’s a bitter-sweet love letter to the Park Hill Estate in Sheffield – a real-life location with more than six decades of stories to tell.


Chris Bush’s script, following three groups of flat-dwellers over the years, ranges from the heart-rending to the absolutely hilarious. Bush has used music from ex-Pulp musician and Sheffield star Richard Hawley’s back catalogue to complement the narrative rather than drive the plot but this is no standard jukebox musical.


She charts the lives of a young married couple in the 60s, refugees from the Liberian conflict in the 80s and an up-from-London young professional to bring us right up to date, all residents in the same ‘street in the sky’. Their lives are intertwined, but it’s not until the end of the show that we truly understand the depth of how and why their shared stories are so poignant.


Ben Stones’ set and costumes are stunning both in scale and attention to detail: Robert Hastie’s direction means every individual cast member’s outstanding contribution is critical to the success of the whole.


Be ready for sensory overload at the end of Act One: it’s loud and visually overwhelming. But be assured, by the end you’ll have fallen in love with this gritty city love story.


Standing at the Sky’s Edge runs until August 3. There will be an Audio Described Performance on Saturday 13 April 2024, 7:30pm; Captioned Performances on Tuesday 26 March 2024, 7:30pm and Saturday 13 July 2024, 2:30pm; BSL Performances on Thursday 23 May 2024, 7:30pm and Saturday 22 June 2024, 2:30pm.


For booking and accessible information go to https://lwtheatres.co.uk/access/gillian-lynne-theatre/

 

Photo Credit: Brinkhoff-Moegenburg

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