Tim Firth’s musical This Is My Family, first performed in the Studio Theatre, Sheffield, has been revived for a wider audience at the splendidly refurbished Lyceum prior to a national tour. It is directed by Daniel Evans with his usual polish, and showcases an inventive design by Richard Kent in which the inside of a family’s three-storey house mutates into a forest.
It’s a touchingly human piece about a family who seem to be falling apart, but through the naive manipulation of Nicky, the teenage daughter, winningly played by Evelyn Hoskins, come together in the end.
Some of the most effective humour is sparked by the older brother, a Goth, played by Terence Keeley; the father’s aging mother, who is in the early stages of dementia, played by Marjorie Yates; and the mother’s free-spirited sister, played by Rachel Lumberg.
In the programme Tim Firth says that his only rule for the songs was that he didn’t want anyone to ask ‘Why are they singing instead of speaking?’ According to this criteria, the second act was faultless, but the longer first act still needs some tweaking – with a little more speaking and a little less singing. But it’s still a brilliant show.