Girl From The North Country
Playwright/Director Conor McPherson
Music & Lyrics by Bob Dylan
Theatre Royal until February 27
Reviewed by Ron Lee, CSP
What inspired someone to produce Girl From The North Country? Did the script come first or was it written around Bob Dylan’s rearranged songs?
The scene is a guest house in Duluth, Minnesota, in 1934. Seven years later, Bob Dylan would be born in that town. Partly due to the repercussions of the Great Depression, a range of people find themselves in each other’s company. The laws of attraction, magnetism, personality conflicts and family disfunctionality emerge in this societal microcosm. The social mores of the period add to the interest.
The characters include a bible salesman, an alcoholic, a pregnant woman, a local shoe store owner who has a history of paedophilia, a boxer, an adopted black girl, a widow and the couple who run the guest house. The narrator is Dr. Walker (Terence Crawford). The nineteen-person cast is headed by Lisa McCune as Elizabeth, Peter Kowitz as Nick and Peter Carroll as Mr Perry.
Woven into the plot are nineteen Bob Dylan songs that have been reimagined. You’ll recognise some, namely Like a Rolling Stone, Hurricane and Forever Young, which are interesting interpretations that you can’t help comparing to the originals.
From an audience perspective, it’s currently compulsory to wear a mask at all times in the theatre. If you’re thinking of going to this production and you wear glasses, only book seats in the front stalls. The masks cause glasses to steam up, and my view from the second row of the dress circle was severely impeded by being unable to wear spectacles.
In any case, it’s fantastic to see productions back in the theatres.