Lift received mixed reviews in London with most citing its loose plotting as the area of concern. In many ways, Lift evokes shows like Company and Hello Again in its play with time and use of themes of longing and connection to build characters through brief vignettes. It's obvious that Craig Adams can write some great tunes, and lamentations of time and regret really ring true through his smart lyrics and haunting refrains. But there are a lot of aspects of the story that never quite gel-- though Lift shows small vignettes of possible connections between people in this elevator, it never establishes how or why we know these things. Are these scenarios all in the head of the romantic busker? And if not, what are these scenarios played out outside the lift supposed to signify about these characters, other than that they are lonely or hoping for something more than they have?
Beautiful Soup's production, directed by Steven Carl McCasland, features some lovely voices and some nice moments of cheeky humor. I can easily see Lift becoming a chamber musical cult favorite, since the music lends itself to lots of impressive solos and troubled characters. But even this production cannot overcome a lot of the holes in the plotting itself, leading to scattered moments of true musical connection with a lot of crowds rushing in between. I am glad that Lift made its way to this side of the pond, and I hope this is an introduction to more new British works making their way over in the future. In the meantime, you can catch Beautiful Soup's production, running until November 24th.