Tomorrow Morning

A musical by Laurence Mark Wythe
New End Theatre
(2006)

At a time when a senior family judge, Lord Justice Wall, calls for the media to be admitted to family courts, Wythe's Tomorrow Morning admits the audience into the living area of two couples, who are actually one couple, ten years apart, on two pivotal evenings in their relationship.

The opening song "Tomorrow morning everything changes" is a prelude to what is to come. Each of the characters expresses his and her thoughts, which hint on why the next day is of such great importance and the emotional trauma preceding the events to come. Their younger selves are full of passion, bright colours, humour and concerns such as, where to hide the porn magazines collected over the years, the need to resist chocolate to ensure that the wedding dress fits. In stark contrast is the more mature couple who is on the brink of divorce because, yes, the most common reason of all, he met a woman, "well a girl. Barely out of her teens" and momentarily fell for the seduction. She is hurt and he laments. They think that all is left is a need to move on and not look back.

The set is simple and effective in providing space for the couples at different stages of their relationship. The women predominately inhabit the living room while upstage Jack (Alistair Robins) inhabits a sparsely furnished flat, with only grey boxes around. John, the young self, is superbly performed by the light baritone Stephen Ashfield. His flat can be seen through a large window frame. Either moves to the living area in moments of intimacy or attempted reconciliation.

The mature couple share a child and memories, some of which are re-enacted by the passionate young selves and some are raised in the melodies which open up heartfelt moments. The option of reconciliation is not one offered by the family solicitor Andre, whose oppressive presence comes in a form of a telephone call to each spouse impressing the importance of studying the divorce with the same cynical and unethical message to each 'I AM ON YOUR SIDE!'

While most musicals are a product of separate book-writer, lyricist and a composer; Wythe fused all three and produced a delightful piece based on the old theme of marriage and divorce. Wythe uses a wide range of current musical forms and idioms to convey contemporary reality. It is mainly light and funny. On occasion, tango melodies are introduced as well as jazzy numbers with bluesy piano riffs. Balladic moments are introduced in contemplation to ensure that the music provides another keyhole to the audience through which they can learn more about the characters than what the characters are ready to reveal themselves. Such familiarities assist in promoting the audience's empathy towards the characters' choices, mistakes and actions.

Nick Winston directs the impressive quartet of protagonists. All four actors - Annette McLaughlin, Alistair Robins, Emma Williams and Stephen Ashfield - provide superb acting, vocal thrust and stamina. They are admirably supported by the musicians, Matt Brind, Jenny Gould, Jennie Chilton and Matt Elliott, to give the audience a delightful treat.

Rivka Jacobson