Fisherman’s Mates might be described as the last word “buoyband”, mentioned Dominic Cavendish in The Day by day Telegraph – a bunch of grizzled Cornish fishermen who miraculously netted a £1m report deal and stormed the charts in 2010 with an album of time-honoured sea shanties.
Their heartwarming story offered the idea for a movie in 2019. Now, it has been changed into a captivating if light-weight stage musical – and in case you like sea shanties, you might be very more likely to like it.
The present consists of sufficient of them (virtually 30) “to sink a battleship”, and it has a supersized forged of 25 actors and musicians too. “When it’s all fingers on deck, it’s fairly a sight to behold: the reproduction quayside set extra bustling than St Ives at vacationer season high-tide.” What I yearned for, although, was a bit extra drama. This can be a pleasurable night, however some “Sturm und Drang wouldn’t go amiss”.
There’s a feeling that this can be a story we’ve heard very often earlier than, mentioned Miriam Gillinson in The Guardian, presumably in additional appropriate varieties. Nonetheless, it has a stable script, and there are flashes of “humour and cynicism”, particularly within the rigidity between locals and vacationers.
Director James Grieve has “clearly labored laborious to carry on to the rough-hewn authenticity” that made the unique group successful. The lighting and set design are “muted” quite than brash. And the wonderful performances, significantly from James Gaddas because the group’s gruff lead singer Jim, are “suitably un-showy”.
“As a chunk of theatre, it’s all a bit protected” – however it delivers “earworm after earworm”: this is a present that “is aware of its target market” and it “lands all of them night time”, mentioned Kris Hallett on What’s On Stage.
Throughout final week’s press efficiency, the climate exterior was “doing an honest impression of an Atlantic storm”, mentioned Clive Davis in The Occasions. However contained in the theatre, as we listened to a sequence of “soul-stirring” sea shanties carried out with gusto, “we had been, metaphorically talking anyway, snugly tucked up in entrance of a roaring pub hearth, scorching toddies in our fingers”. It’s that sort of expertise that this “heart-on-sleeve” present provides, and it certainly deserves to “pack them in”.
Leeds Grand Theatre; till 19 November, then on tour