Cover My Tracks review at Old Vic, London – ‘captivating gig-theatre’
Staged with captivating simplicity, David Greig and Noah and the Whale frontman Charlie Fink’s new musical two-hander Cover My Tracks is a blissful hour-and-a-little-bit of contemplative, gently poetic storytelling and wistful, folksy guitar music.
It’s actually more gig-theatre than musical, and although tonally different and musically miles away, Max Webster’s production is strongly reminiscent of Sabrina Mahfouz’s garage-inflected fringe hit With a Little Bit of Luck in its winning mix of rich, rambling narrative and hummable tunes.
Jade Anouka plays Sarah, a chirpy ex-hotel porter whose chance encounter with a famous musician – Fink’s troubled Frank – one evening begins a downbeat, faintly autobiographical, not-quite-love story that takes them both on a journey of self-discovery, from the brink of suicide in a grubby hotel room to the shores of a remote Scottish loch, via a whirlwind, whistle stop band tour of the UK.
Death, depression, grief and the impossibility of modern living recur through Greig’s book like refrains through a pop song, but always with a refreshing lack of morbidness and a winning, wry humour.
As the lively, likeable Anouka delivers the narrative, Fink sits idly by, strumming his guitar with modest nonchalance, his interwoven score a plaintive paean echoing with notes of Alex Turner and Paul Simon.
Webster’s framing, all silhouettes and subtly shifting washes of colour, is arrestingly beautiful. In fact, the whole thing is.
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