On a Clear Day You Can See Forever

23 Mar

Reincarnation is an alluring belief, and may even be true.

The depth of our emotions, especially for others, can lead us to feel that one life is not enough. Perhaps, somehow, there will be other lives in which our love can continue.

The problem – for those of us with a modern sensibility – is proof.

But none is needed. A belief (or faith or hope) in reincarnation requires no verification; its value is expressive. One might as well ask for proof that my favourite colour is blue.

In Alan Jay Lerner and Burton Lane’s musical, Dr Mark Bruckner hypnotises Daisy Gamble, in an attempt to understand her apparent Extra Sensory Perception. Exploring her memories, he discovers Melinda Wells, an English woman who passed over a century ago.

Perhaps my philosophical pretensions make the subject matter sound heavy, or just plain weird, but it’s not – it’s light, breezy, and beautiful; a glorious expression of our dearest desires.

The play has a history of revisions, and Jay James-Moody (who also directs and performs) has adapted and updated the original story. In this version, following a 2011 Broadway revision, Daisy is a gay man, David, and as Mark falls for Melinda, he must ask what are his feelings for the man in whom she resides. It’s all about…. fluidity.

James-Moody’s production is visually delightful, musically superb, and very funny. As David, James-Moody is both movingly vulnerable and deliciously comic. His timing is spot on. Melinda is played by Madeleine Jones with a mesmerizing pizazz. Blake Bowden’s Mark wonderfully captures both the psychologist’s obsessive drive for knowledge and the man’s desperate need for love.

The vocal performances are terrific, with highlights including “When we are 65” sung by James Haxby and James-Moody, “Don’t Tamper With My Sister” sung by Jones, “Come Back to Me” sung by Bowden, and the title song, performed by James-Moody, Jones and the company. Natalya Aynsley’s orchestra is brilliant. Choreography by Leslie Bell is cheeky and playful, perfectly suiting the gorgeously non-conventional relationships portrayed, and the cast perform it with aplomb.

On A Clear Day You Can See Forever is an exuberant reminder to look beyond the mundane and be open to the surprise of joy.

Paul Gilchrist

On a Clear Day You Can See Forever by Alan Jay Lerner and Burton Lane, revised and adapted by Jay James-Moody

presented by Squabbalogic and Seymour Centre

until 15 April


Image by David Hooley

One Response to “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever”

  1. G~ March 23, 2023 at 7:07 am #

    It’s hard not to consider reincarnation, especially when you look at things in nature on our planet and beyond our planet, on how things change from one state to another, transformative if you will. With that in mind, for me that would be a reincarnation in itself.
    Do humans reincarnate? That’s the big question. But if we are going to take an example of it from what nature shows us then perhaps it might be true. 🤷🏻‍♀️

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