A MELODIC twist to a classic story of forbidden love has “stretched the rules of the musical” according to director Roger Haines in his world premiere adaptation of The Go-Between at West Yorkshire Playhouse.
Adapted from LP Hartley’s novel, elderly protagonist Leo Colston discovers a diary written by his 13-year-old self while on holiday at his friend’s stately home in Norfolk.
Roger said: “Everything is seen through Leo’s point of view of his life during the 19 days he spent at Brandon Hall and the devastating effect it had on him.”
Mr Haines said: “These are memories that were pushed out and now, as an old man, he must confront them.
“That creates quite a terrific tension and drive because he doesn’t want to recall that time, so it acts as a massive psychotherapy session for the old man so that he can find a degree of content.
“It is about a wasted life that had such promise, a boy of 12 who had everything, and because of an incident where he was manipulated by adults, he learnt to lie.”
Leo acted as a confidante and messenger for his friend’s beautiful, upper-class sister Marian and a young tenant farmer Ted, forced to hide their love from her family because of their unmatched social status.
The production is a musical, and a single piano will accompany the actors, some aged as young as 12.
Roger said: “It stretches the rules of the musical, outside the walls of what we would expect, it is far more of a music drama.
“There are a variety of songs in the show because if all the songs were very mellow and morbid that would actually be dramatically quite a tough evening.
“Anyone who knows the book will love the production, it is not all angst there is also a lot of comedy in it, there is passion and a lot of the comedy is brought by the two young boys.”
“It was Richard Taylor, who composed the music for the show, who told me about this idea to have the story as a musical, the book was recommended by a friend and I feel in love with it.
“By the very nature of the book I knew this could potentially make a wonderful piece of music drama.”
Roger, whose previous credits include Calendar Girls and High Society, was originally trained as a concert pianist and said he faced new challenges in the composition of this production.
He said: “I hope to tell the story clearly. The challenges of this picture are in telling the memories and the rules within it.
“The other challenge is the multi-locational aspect of the story, we have to be able to us a dramatic device, almost a televised jump cut from memory to memory, and obviously memories can be very jumbled and not necessarily layered.
“A lot of the setting will be placed in the audience’s imagination which can be very powerful.”
The Go-Between is at West Yorkshire Playhouse from September 9 to October 1, tickets cost £17-£27, available from www.wyp.org.uk or the box office on 0113 213 7700.