13 October 2018

5 Reasons To See The Lovely Bones On Stage (AD)

I received two complimentary tickets to see The Lovely Bones so I could write this review. Images have been supplied by Northern Stage.

The Lovely Bones tour sees Alice Seabold’s novel bought to the stage for the first time. with the stage premiere of the world-famous novel, and one of the best-selling novels of the 21st century. I was invited to attend Press Night at Northern Stage this week and I took a friend along with me. We both loved it and here are 5 reasons why I think you should go and see it.

5 Reasons To See The Lovely Bones On Stage


5 Reasons To See The Lovely Bones on Stage


The Lovely Bones stage play is based on the award-winning book by Alice Sebold’s. A unique coming-of-age tale which captured the hearts of readers throughout the world when it was first published in 2002. An uplifting story about life after loss, The Lovely Bones, achieved critical acclaim and became an instant bestseller across the world. 

The Lovely Bones tells the story of young girl Susie Salmon, who is just like any other girl. She wants to be beautiful, adores her charm bracelet and has a crush on a boy from school. There’s one big difference though – Susie is dead. Susie can only observe while her family cope with their grief in their different ways. Her father, Jack is obsessed with identifying the killer. Her mother, Abigail is desperate to create a brighter future. And her sister, Lindsay is discovering the opposite sex with experiences that Susie will never know. Susie is desperate to help them and there might be a way of reaching them.

5 Reasons To See The Lovely Bones On Stage

As part of a national tour The Lovely Bones is being performed at Northern Stage until Saturday 20 October, and here are 5 reasons why I think it's one not to miss.

1. The Staging


It looked so simple. I have to say as we took our seats in Stage 1 at Northern Stage. A practically empty stage, a cornfield towards the back and an angled mirror. We were 7 rows back and in the centre. Great seats to view the entire stage. And there was so much to see. Do you look at the floor or the reflection above or even through the mirror? It’s was ingenious. So clever. What I can only describe as magical trickery at some moments, yet it never took away from the action on stage - only enhanced it. Creativity at its best.

5 Reasons To See The Lovely Bones On Stage

2. The Soundtrack


From Simon and Garfunkel to Talking Heads the use of sound in the play was a triumph. At really poignant moments the lyrics from songs told the story. It was as if Bookends had been written for that moment “I have a photograph”. The stage play does not use the music from the film - some of which was composed by Brian Eno & David Byrne - but it was hearing 'PsychoKiller' that is one of my most memorable parts of the night. Great tune and a great time to play it. 



3. The Intensity


With a one hour and 45-minute performance at the theatre you would normally expect an interval. On hearing there was no interval we were surprised ... but not for long. From the start - a burst of loud music and flashing lights - the intensity was immense. I sat so still throughout, no wriggling, no readjusting position. Totally captured by the performance. I never took my eyes off the stage. No one in the audience aim front of me moved either. And when it finished I couldn’t believe it had actually been nearly two hours. There was no way I would have wanted an interval. Having to break away from the amazing drama unfolding before my eyes would have ruined the evening. So don’t worry about there being no interval just remember we to visit the toilets before the performance!

5 Reasons To See The Lovely Bones On Stage

4. The adaptation and direction


For anyone who has read the book (which is great) or seen the film (which isn’t so great), you know the subject matter before you arrive at the theatre. If you haven’t you may be in for a shock in the opening scene. However given the subject matter, how this was translated to the stage was really impressive. Clothes played a significant part in telling the story. And clothes depicting ghostly children is an image that doesn't go away. The action taking place away from centre-stage created a visual feast that made the entire show gripping as well as an emotional rollercoaster, however, which when put all together, left you feeling on top of the world.

5 Reasons To See The Lovely Bones On Stage

5 Reasons To See The Lovely Bones On Stage

5. The Acting


Last but no means least, the actors and the impeccable performances on stage. Some on stage throughout - an amazing 1 hour 45 mins - some playing two or three different characters, Charlotte Beaumont was amazing. You may remember her from Broadchurch as Chloe Latimer. She showed every kind of emotion possible, all with total believability, and with so much energy. But it wasn’t just the lead character. Every performance from the 10 strong cast was so believable even when changing character. Costume changes had a purpose, and the acting and staging complemented each other tremendously.

5 Reasons To See The Lovely Bones On Stage

5 Reasons To See The Lovely Bones On Stage

The Lovely Bones at Northern Stage

As we were invited by Northern Stage to the press night we also had the opportunity to enjoy a  pre-theatre meal at McKenna's. My friend treated me to dinner - it was delicious!


So you can tell I enjoyed it! More than that I loved it. Clever, sensitive, energetic and very uplifting - not words I would have associated with The Lovely Bones before I saw the stage play. I’d love to watch it again.

5 Reasons To See The Lovely Bones On Stage

The Lovely Bones On Tour

The Lovely Bones will be bought to life on the stage for the first time in a co-production between Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Royal and Derngate and Northern Stage in association with the Liverpool Everyman.

The Lovely Bones is on tour at Northern Stage until October 20. You can then see it at Birmingham Repertory Theatre from 30 October to 10 November and then at the New Wolsey Theatre between 13 and 17 November.

9 – 20 October 2018

Northern Stage


30 October – 10 November 2018

Birmingham Repertory Theatre


13 – 17 November 2018

New Wolsey Theatre



Do let me know if you see The Lovely Bones on stage.

Deb x

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5 Reasons To See The Lovely Bones On Stage


2 comments:

  1. Total tribute to the book, amazing staging and even better acting! Best play I've seen in a while!

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    Replies
    1. Loved it. So much that I want to see it again. Lovely to bump into to you (briefly) too.

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