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A Magazine for Sheffield

Standing At The Sky's Edge, Crucible

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Written by Chris Bush and featuring the songs of Richard Hawley, Standing at the Sky's Edge is a new musical about life on Park Hill. Weaving three central stories set over a near 60-year period, this is an engaging, moving and often very funny production that regularly adds up to more than the sum of its parts.

Not everything here works. Some of the songs fit seamlessly into the narrative, but others break up the momentum and there are times when it feels a bit like a variety performance. In the first act the play is too often asked to play second fiddle to other factors - although when that's the best use of Hendo's in a theatre ever, it's hard to quibble.

But what a play this is, especially in a second act that finds its stride from the off, from the hope and idealism of the sixties to the abandonment and despair of the eighties, before the gentrification of the modern day.

Bush never patronises the residents of Park Hill or her audience. She has created an honest and poignant look at how whilst time and politics may change, people are what make the difference. Her cast are note-perfect, although Faith Omole as Joy almost runs away with the production. Playing daughter, lover and mother in quick succession, Omole's performance of 'Cole's Corner', arguably Hawley's most sweepingly romantic song, is the highlight of the production.

The show ends as it starts, "as the dawn breaks over roof slates, hope hung on every washing line". Standing at the Sky's Edge, like the iconic Park Hill estate, is not always a smooth ride, but when it hits the right notes it soars above the seven hills like the sun. This is Sheffield, by Sheffield, for Sheffield.

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