Midnight: Union Theatre, London
Reviewed 11th September 2018
Midnight is a brand new musical psychological drama making its World Premiere at the Union Theatre. Based upon the play Citizens of Hell by Elchin, Midnight tells the story of a husband and wife who, living in Azerbaijan as part of the police state of the Soviet Union, fear their time is running out. When there is a dreaded knock on the door the couple are sure they have met their fate. But as dark secrets emerge, time is suspended and the husband and wife are tested to breaking point – and beyond …
Midnight is certainly an unique show. Unlike anything currently playing in the West End, it cleverly mixes a varied, interesting score with a dark, sinister plot line. The story itself manages to include some light-hearted moments as well as drawing the audience in with each twist and turn of the husband and wife’s relationship. The acting throughout the production is brilliant. Colin Burnicle and Norma Butikofer certainly both know how to use their emotions and channel this into their character. The mix of guilt, grief and uncertainty is tangible during the second act. Leon Scott excels as the ‘visitor‘. His menacing, chilling persona is fantastic and his vocals are extremely powerful. The main characters are backed up excellently by a talented group of 4 actor-musos who are onstage throughout.
The music by Laurence Mark Wythe is haunting and yet oddly catchy at the same time. There is a real variety of music on offer during this show and the use of the onstage musicians is brilliant. Choreography, by Chris Cuming, also integrates the instruments perfectly into the action onstage meaning that they never seem to detract from the story, despite the small stage space. The instruments also help to create the chilling atmosphere. The use of the ensemble always being present, observing the action as ghosts of the past, is a clever choice.
The concept for this production is definitely interesting. Whilst it is slightly slow to start, the sinister edge to the show definitely builds, as does the tension when the ‘visitor‘ is introduced. Some elements of the plot don’t quite make sense – but with further workshopping this could certainly be an interesting new breed of musical thriller.
Midnight tells the story of peoples fight for survival, their desire to keep themselves and their loved ones safe and the lengths people will go to make this happen. It shows the horror of the people living during this time in the Soviet Union, and suggests how people may be living in fear now where these situations are still prevalent. Whilst the production certainly has haunting moments, a sinister edge and a dark story, at points it felt slightly lost and a little confusing. With work, Midnight could become a fantastic production – it has certainly got the basics there. Believable characters, an impressive score, clever staging and bags full of emotion throughout. It’ll be interesting to see what future this show has in store. To make up your own mind check out Midnight at the Union Theatre, London now.
Midnight is playing at the Union Theatre, London until for tickets click here.
Photo Credit: Lidia Crisafulli