Thursday, September 28

SEVEN and a half YEARS – Salford Arts Theatre

Mark Glentworth experienced incredible success as a composer, and then his life changed. But not in the way that you would expect.

This autobiographical one-act musical tells the story of what came next: it is a journey that takes Glentworth from the heights of his success to the depths of his despair and isolation, ending with his first steps towards a new start. The production makes the most of the simple set and lighting designs, and Glentworth moves around the space well. It is his authenticity that is most striking; it cannot be easy for him to perform this material over and over and relive the best and worst moments of his life.

Glentworth is clearly an outstanding musician, and the music in the show – which switches seamlessly from prerecorded tracks to live piano and back again – is testament to his talent. The lyrics are honest and insightful and really add to the story. Using various styles and genres of music, the songs speak of Glentworth’s fear, frustrations, dreams and hopes; and really heighten the emotion of the piece. However, at moments, some of the meaning was lost either in the sound quality or the diction.

Despite the fact that Glentworth does not come from an acting background, this is a really good piece of storytelling, and is well worth watching. The production provides the audience with a greater understanding of what it can look like to struggle with mental health, and the resilience of one man’s journey to reconnecting with the world and his loved ones.

SEVEN and a half YEARS is part of the Greater Manchester Fringe: There is another performance of SEVEN and a half YEARS on Saturday 15th July at 7:30. More information and ticket link can be found here:

Reviewer: Jo Tillotson

Reviewed: 14th July 2023

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.