Inspired by the barnstorming songs of the first album by Tom Clarke and The Enemy, WE’LL LIVE AND DIE IN THESE TOWNS is a musical play by award-winning writer and Cov kid Geoff Thompson. If you like music or like plays - or especially like musical plays - ignore most of what you’ve seen before and go and see this. WE’LL LIVE AND DIE is a thoughtful, brooding piece fuelled by raw passion and introspection. And the songs are proper indie-rock. Based, presumably, on songwriter Tom’s own experience of anxiety and self-doubt, our central character ARGY experiences a massive panic attack before a huge homecoming (Coventry) gig. At the sharp end of his managers tongue we are subjected to the first of several dichotomies at the core of The play. In short, ARGY has dreamed and worked all his life for this huge success -and now he’s got it, he doesn’t seem to want it.
Racked with guilt, ARGY goes back to his roots to find a mixture of anger and jealousy amongst former friends. But, in a perfectly played, lyrical and moving meeting with his brother BILL, a failed poet, he starts to make sense of his fame and fortune and how it has affected the people he’s left behind; a beautifully written scene in which writer GEOFF THOMPSON flexes his theatrical muscle, effortlessly weaving lyrics from the songs in and out of the dialogue.
More encounters follow, involving much guilt-assuaging, especially with a hard-hatted clergyman played sympathetically by QUINN PATRICK, culminating with a scene in a graveyard, where ARGY finally comes to terms with his angst. It won’t be too much of a spoiler to say that the show ends well with ARGY confronting his demons and his past.
The show is spectacularly staged by Belgrade stalwart PATRICK CONNELLAN, with laser-sharp sound and lighting from CHRIS BOGG and GRANT ANDERSON. Brilliant, original video work by SHANAZ GUIZAR had us playing spot the backdrop as her projections gave us an alternative view of Cov from the usual ringroad/twin cathedral city cliches we’ve become used to.
HAMISH GLEN has pulled another gem from his pocket here. I’ve never seen him so animated as he stood in the gods clapping and singing along with the rip-roaring, rousing finale. If you love Cov, get down and see this.