Now and Then is a musical, with a country score, that follows the love story of two men over a period of 40 years.
Under the direction by Harry Blumenau, with book by Ronnie Larsen and music and lyrics by Dennis Manning, we see Daniel and Greg in different moments of their relationship, played by three different sets of actors.
In the first stage, Greg 1 (Freddie Woodyatt) is a university student who hosts an open mic night when Daniel 1 (Dylan Wynford) performs with his guitar a song (the beautiful Solitary man); that’s the beginning of everything.
We move then to Greg 2 (Rhys Taylor) who is still absolutely in love with Daniel 2 (Taylor Rettke). But Daniel’s career as a musician is not going well; he misuses alcohol and he struggles with his mental health. The couple seems to reach a breaking point.
Richard Costello (Daniel 3) and Leo Andrew (Greg 3) give a sense of maturity and profoundness to the arc of the life of the two men. They can look backwards, remember and reflect on this rollercoaster called life.
Now and then is a special show. Not just because all the six actors are wonderful or because the score is beautiful and speaks to your heart – especially songs like “Now and Then”, “Long Stem Red Rose”, “I remember love” and “Solitary Man”. It is special because it is a sincere and true story, and you can feel its honesty in every song, in every dialogue.
The show is relatable and realistic, and the events are told in a natural way: as the story switches between decades, we go into the complexity of Greg and Daniel’s love story, which has the same complexity of most relationships.
There are so many key points in this engaging and emotional musical, all of them relevant. But the main one is about the importance of building a strong and durable relationship which is, ultimately, the meaning of love.
Even if country music has never been my thing, Now and Then is easily one of the most truthful and touching musicals of the year.
It runs until 19 October.