Double Olivier and Tony award-winning musical Girl From The North Country is touring the UK for the first time, with performances at Milton Keynes Theatre from Tuesday 15 November.
Written and directed by Conor McPherson, with music and lyrics by Bob Dylan, this critically acclaimed production is set in a guesthouse in 1930s America. Here, drifters and dreamers cross paths as they each reach a turning point in their lives. Searching for a future and hiding from the past, they find themselves facing unspoken truths about the present.
Audiences can expect diverse experiences and unsettled destinies to be explored in an uplifting and universal drama about family and love.
Girl From The North Country opened with sell-out performances at the Old Vic in July 2017, before transferring to the West End’s Noël Coward Theatre that December. It has since impressed on Broadway and with productions in Canada and Australia.
Given that Bob Dylan’s back catalogue runs to over fifty albums, Conor McPherson would have been spoilt for choice selecting the twenty songs that he has incorporated into his narrative. He has taken tracks that were written between 1963 and 2012 to accompany his characters’ experiences during the winter of 1934 – the only apparent connection to Dylan is that the down-on-its-luck guest house is located in Dylan’s hometown of Duluth, Minnesota. The songs featured include ‘Girl From The North Country’ (1963), ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ (1965), ‘Hurricane’ (1976) and ‘To Make You Feel My Love’ (1997).
The show’s scenic and costume design is by Rae Smith. Orchestrations, arrangements and music supervision is by Simon Hale, with additional arrangements by Conor McPherson. Lighting design is by Mark Henderson, sound design is by Simon Baker, movement direction is by Lucy Hind and casting is by Jessica Ronane.
The full cast includes Keisha Amponsa Banson (Mrs Neilsen), Ross Carswell (Elias Burke), Colin Connor (Nick Laine), Frankie Hart (Ensemble), Joshua C Jackson (Joe Scott), Eli James (Reverend Marlowe), Justina Kehinde (Marianne), Teddy Kempner (Mr Perry), Graham Kent (Ensemble), Owen Lloyd (Ensemble), Nichola MacEvilly (Ensemble), Chris McHallem (Dr Walker), Frances McNamee (Elizabeth Laine), Gregor Milne (Gene Laine), Eve Norris (Katherine Draper), Daniel Reid-Walters (Ensemble), James Staddon (Mr Burke), Neil Stewart (Ensemble) and Rebecca Thornhill (Mrs Burke).
Live music is provided by The Howlin’ Winds: Ruth Elder (violin and mandolin), Andrew Corcoran (musical direction/piano), Ed McFarlane (double bass) and Felix Stickland (guitars).
Running time: Approximately 2 hours 40 minutes, including one interval.
*Production photography by Johan Persson.
Girl From The North Country is at Milton Keynes Theatre from Tuesday 15 to Saturday 19 November 2022. The UK tour continues until 18 March 2023.
This preview is also featured on Total MK.
Update 16 November 2022: Read my review of Girl From The North Country at Milton Keynes Theatre.
Georgina Butler is an editor, a dance writer and a ballet teacher.