The music of Sheffield-born singer-songwriter Richard Hawley collides with the words of playwright Chris Bush in this heart-stopping, often soaring, new British musical. It’s set in a single flat on Sheffield’s brutalist and iconic Park Hill Estate, which looms over the city, and it spans almost 60 years and three particular dates. In 1960, Rose and her steelworker husband move in. Almost 30 years later, the now rundown estate is supposed to be a home but feels more like a prison to a refugee. Then it is 2015 and gentrification is all around. The show premiered in 2019 and was rapturously received on its return to Sheffield this winter, so it’s a joy to see it finally getting its London premiere at the National. Because while this is a very local story, it speaks loud and clear to everyone.
A castle built of streets in the sky. Poppy wants to escape her old life in London. Joy and Jimmy want to spend the rest of their lives together. Rose and Harry want the new life they’ve been promised. A love letter to Sheffield and a history of modern Britain told through the stories of one iconic estate, Standing at the Sky’s Edge charts the hopes and dreams of three generations over the course of six tumultuous decades. Set to the irresistible songs of legendary Sheffield singer-songwriter Richard Hawley, it is a heartfelt exploration of the power of community and what it is we call home.