The Midnight Bell

Theatre Royal Brighton

Until 18 September 2021


Broken hearts, tormented souls, unrequited love as well as passion and joy are all explored in an extraordinary new dance show The Midnight Bell.

Choreographed by highly acclaimed Matthew Bourne and performed by the New Adventures Company, the setting is a run-down pub in Soho in the 1930’s and explores the bleak lives and loves of the regulars through dance.

A whirlwind of movement with a narrative for every character, we follow them through the parties, love affairs and dramas with a backdrop of endless drinks, seedy bars, hotel rooms and city streets.

Inspired by the Sussex-born writer Patrick Hamilton who wrote Hangover Square, the dance focuses on a series of love affairs which weave in and out of focus through the performance.

We follow barmaid Ella, a girl next door who is in love with the waiter Bob who becomes entranced with Jenny Maple, a beautiful blonde prostitute. As Ella watches her love disappear, she throws her lot in with dull, grey-suited fussy Mr Eccles, who is delighted with his new beau.

Meanwhile George is obsessed by Netta, an out of work actress who keeps him twisting and turning as she dominates and dumps him endlessly and flirts with the other men in the bar. His descent into madness is powerful and moving as the inevitable tragedy slowly unfolds.

A gay relationship in the 1930’s would have been illegal making the secret love affair between Albert and Frank, a beautiful and heartbreaking narrative. Their romantic duets are passionate and physical with a tenderness which makes their situation more poignant.

Poor Miss Roach, is a lonely spinster exploited by the cad Ernest. Michela Meazza, who plays Miss Roach is perfect as an elegant, brittle woman whose heart is captured and broken and finds her own dignity from within.