The Go-Between is a delightful mix of chamber opera and musical written for an ensemble and single piano. It starred Michael Crawford and played at the West End’s Apollo through 2016 to critical acclaim. Having worked with Propeller Theatre for many years, I understood the implications of ensemble playing for the space. The design had to allow the acting company plenty of floor, in view of the audience, to be able to observe and focus the action whilst not being the centre of attention in any one scene but have a continual presence. It is a ghost story, told in flashback, so I decided that the world had to float in the space and imply the possibilities of a shift in time through the central character’ s memory.
I chose mirrored surfaces that could be partially seen through, so that the company could be visible prowling behind and beside the key characters in any scene, and while offstage. The architecture represented both the interior and exterior of the large country house in which the story is set, simultaneously. The clothes were pale, Edwardian and phantom-like, apart from Colston (Michael Crawford), the central character, in both his present adult form and his younger self.
Michael Crawford, composer Richard Taylor and others talk here about the performance and music’s changing atmospheres and motifs: