Reviews Round-Up: Standing At The in Sky’s Edge 4.3★

Gillian Lynne Theatre

Standing At The Sky’s Edge. Photo: Brinkhoff Moegenburg

The superlatives have been brought out, dusted and polished once again for Standing At The Sky’s Edge, the musical about three generations of residents in Sheffield’s Park Hill Estate, which has now transferred to the West End. Directed by Robert Hastie, Chris Bush’s book augmented by Richard Hawley’s songs and performed by an impressive cast has captured the hearts of nearly all the critics.

[Links to full reviews are included but a number are behind paywalls and therefore may not be accessible]

Stefan Kyriazis in the Daily Express 5★ repeated his previously expressed view that ‘this is the greatest new British musical for years.’  ‘Chris Bush’s note-perfect script tugs at heartstrings as much as it tickles funny bones,’ he said, and ‘Hawley’s exquisite compositions through the years are more like living poetry.’ As if that weren’t enough, he adds: ‘The entire cast is superb’. ‘Prepare to fall in love’ said Franco Milazzo in BroadwayWorld (5★) ‘Robert Hastie’s direction earns every laugh and tear ‘ he enthused, calling the show ‘an epic musical for (and about) the ages’.
Calling it ‘unmissable’, Alex Wood at Whats On Stage (5★)said: ‘It stands as a shining tribute to the combined power of both popular music and stage storytelling, and subsidised and commercial theatre.’
Caroline McGinn in Time Out (5★) was ‘blown away by the emotional power of this show’, dubbing it ‘an instant classic’. She picked out the female leads for special mention: ‘Rachael Wooding, Laura Pitt-Pulford and Elizabeth Ayodele and especially Lauryn Redding will break your heart with lungs of steel’. She summed up: ‘joy, lust, fear, sadness, despair, are crafted into an emotional edifice which stands nearly as tall as the place that inspired it.’
Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph (4★) praised Richard Hawley’s beautiful songs full of melancholy, tenderness, warmth and yearning, hammering at the door of your heart, demanding to be let in.’ He concluded: ‘It’s hard to feel anything other than enriched and often deeply moved by it. It offers rare intellectual and emotional ambition, songs that should stay with you, and sustain you, over a lifetime; and frankly deserves to be a huge hit.’ Dominic Maxwell in The Sunday Times (4⭐️) said: ‘it adds up to something special. I was more than happy to spend almost three hours letting Standing at the Sky’s Edge work its tender magic on me.’
Dave Fargnoli in The Stage (3★) was less carried away but still found it ‘a bittersweet, multigenerational epic’ in which ‘the big ensemble numbers … carry the production along.’ It was left to Clive Davis in The Times (3★) to bring the high-rise enthusiasm down to earth: ‘the script sometimes resembles a conscientiously assembled checklist of social issues’ the songs ‘sometimes seem to have been inserted into the action almost at random’
Standing At Sky’s Edge continues at Gillian Lynne Theatre until 3 August 2024.

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Average rating: 4.3★

Value Rating 51  (Value rating is the Average critic rating divided by the most common Stalls/Circle ticket price on a Saturday evening. In theory, this means the higher the score the better value but, because of price variations, a West End show could be excellent value if it scores above 30 while an off-West End show may need to score above 60. This rating is based on opening night prices- theatres may raise or lower prices during the run.)

Read Paul Seven’s review 

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