Your Lie in April

Your Lie in April
Editor's Rating
Reader Rating1 Vote
Reviewer's Rating

Inspired by a novel called A School Frozen in Time, then turned into a popular manga comic, a film and a television series in Japan, this musical was first performed in Tokyo. It has also had its UK debut at the Drury Lane Theatre in April 2024 so is an already- buffed performance, close to perfect.

The plot is fairly simple seeing four young friends rooting for each other while facing challenges in love and in the competitive world of music in a Japanese high school. An all-Asian cast pulls this off in a magical performance covering anguish, despair, joy and success.

The versatile set is surrounded by the iconic Japanese cherry blossoms of April which are lit to reflect the mood or dimmed to create a night sky effect with a black grand piano as a central focus on a revolving platform.

The book features clearly defined characters: Kosei is an award winning pianist, haunted by the death of his overbearing mother and can no longer play.  Kaori is in love with Kosei, but pretends to be in love with baseball jock Ryota, so she can get close to Kosei without hurting her friend, Tsubaki, who is in love with Kosei.  Tsubaki is sport-mad and obviously better suited to Ryota. This romantic quadrangle, the stuff of fluffy teen movies, is deepened by the unfolding backstory of Kosei and his mother for whom no attainment of his is good enough. In resentment, Kosei has wished she would just go ahead and die, leaving him wracked with guilt when she does.

Kaori urges Kosei on to return to playing the piano in competition duets, while concealing her serious illness. The plot is lifted from undue sentimentality by the quality of the performances, notably from Zheng Xi Yong as Kosei and Mia Kobayashi who is making her debut professional performance in the West End as the central character, Kaori.  She shines like a light in every scene she is in, and her voice is amazing. A virtuoso violinist, AKIKO ISHIKAWA, plays while Kobayashi mimes her violin playing – the audience rewarded her with enthusiastic applause.  Yong’s piano playing is utterly convincing as a great pianist in the making.    Rachel Clare Chan makes a loveable feisty tomboyish friend to all, with a strong voice. Another standout is Dean John Wilson who should have been given a solo number, his voice is so good.

Frank Wildhorn, Carly Robyn Green and Tracy Miller have created some heart-warming songs with the cast in fine form, the most memorable being ‘Catch a Shooting Star’ and ‘100 Lost Days’. The enthusiastic ensemble puts their all into their singing and dancing which makes for an exuberant evening’s entertainment. The backing musicians were fabulous too. In all, this is a definitive winner.

Genre: Musical

Playwright: Riko Sakaguchi

Director & Choreographer: Nick Wilson

Music: Frank Wildhorn Lyrics: Carly Robyn Green & Tracy Miller

Main Cast: Zheng Xi Yong, Mia Kobayashi, Rachel Clare Chan, Dean John Wilson

Performances: Fri 28 Jun – Sat 21 Sep 2024

Performance Time: 7.30