A Wagon Has Arrived in Liverpool.
First year International Journalism student
The award-winning Everyman Company is back with its first play of this year; the American musical, ‘Paint Your Wagon’.
Directed by Gemma Bodinetz, winner of Best Director at the UK Theatre Awards 2017, the Everyman Rep Company has taken on this famous musical by Alan J. Lerner and Frederick Loewe to create a play that perfectly embodies the spirit and sounds of the old ‘New America’.
‘Paint Your Wagon’ is set in California during the Gold Rush in the mid-1800s. Its essence is captured in the Everyman Theatre, which did a great job in creating an interactive set, with the floor occasionally opening to show graves or mining sites, and even a tub with water when characters had to wash their clothes.
The play begins at the burial site of a miner, his fellow workers praying to God “to put a good word on him”. Actor Patrick Brennan plays Ben Rumson, the leader of the miners, who, with his daughter Jennifer (Emily Hughes) discovers gold dust on the burial site. We follow their journey as they set up camp in hopes that they will find their fortune. Naturally, others follow suit and before they know it ‘Rumson Town’ is formed.
I found the humour in the play to be sarcastic, and even though the story is not very original, as the play progresses, the characters become well rounded and you begin to grow sympathetic towards them.
I was impressed to see such amazing coordination in choreography and music for a company that is planning to perform four different plays in a very short amount of time.
The original music composed for the play was brilliant; a violoncello, a violin, a guitar, a banjo and a piano were housed on the upper floor of the theatre and managed to work in perfect harmony with the songs performed on stage. One particular standout moment was a violin solo in the middle of the play that caught me off-guard with how unexpectedly beautiful it was.
Overall I’d say that ‘Paint Your Wagon’ it is a great debut for the 2018 Everyman Company, and I left the theatre excited to see what they have in store for the remainder of the season.
You can still see ‘Paint Your Wagon’ until Sat 14th July for just £5 as an LJMU student.