Review: Songs for a New World

Come stargazing at the ADC and let the music take your breath away


Musical theatre, when done right, is an absolute pleasure to see. And my goodness, was this show done right. I don’t have the words to describe how amazing and wonderful it was to experience this beautiful and divine production of an out of this world work of art.

Songs for a New World lies between a musical and a song cycle, telling stories through a collection of songs. It examines life, love and the choices we make. The audience is immersed in the world of music while following the emotional journey of humankind. Every note, every lyric, and every emotion intertwine to create a tapestry of stories that capture the essence of the human experience in a way that is both profound and deeply moving.

When powerful voices, virtuous musicians and a talented director come together, great things happen. This show was definitely one of them. The entire cast was magnificent. The skilled Isabel Beresford-Cole with an outstanding voice displayed her extraordinary vocal range in singing The Steam Train and hitting the high notes in Flying Home April Perrott’s execution of both serious songs and the more comedic Surabaya-Santa, where she criticised Santa Claus for never being home, was incredible. She is such a strong singer and her musical theatre background definitely showed. Neela Nee shined while performing I’m Not Afraid Of Anything.

Image credits: Paul Ashley

The song was so heartfelt, striking a chord in every heart. Maya Moh’s rendition of On the Deck of a Spanish Sailing Ship, 1492 was hauntingly profound and meaningful. Matthew Weatherhead, singing The River Won’t Flow was so in tune with the music and his character, his every movement imbued with grace. Credit is due to choreographer and producer Gina Stock, whose elegant choreography seamlessly complemented the performances, never overshadowing the vocal prowess on display. This cast, under her direction, illuminated the stage with unparalleled artistry and skill.

How can I talk about a musical show without mentioning the music? The music, oh, the music! It was magnificent. The choice to have the band, nay, the orchestra, on stage was a stroke of creative genius. Seeing and hearing the musicians live was nothing short of exhilarating. George Jackson deserves so much praise. He is an extremely gifted musical director, and an even better keys player. His unwavering passion, dedication, and vision elevated the production to heights of sublime beauty, leaving the audience spellbound and profoundly moved. And the way the violins, Emily Chong and Amy Oh, came in during the most intense moments of the show, was phenomenal, their strings playing with the audience’s hearts. A huge shoutout goes to the sound designer, Stan Hunt. He did an amazing job creating a wonderful symphony.

The sound supported the voices, which were never overpowered by the music. The lights by Robert Woodland, Steph Cho and Charlotte Conybeare were also well suited to the show and clearly thought through. They worked amazingly, complementing the brilliant performances. Especially during King of the World when they really came together with the music and created a truly enchanted scene. And the twinkling stars and majestic full moon were a lovely part of the otherwise rightfully minimalistic set design.

Image credits: Paul Ashley

This show was a breathtaking musical experience and a captivating testament to the power of music in storytelling. The audience, including its most dedicated member – the magnificent director Jessi Rogers, went wild after every song. Each performance drew a wave of applause and the standing ovation at the end was well deserved. The show ran for slightly less than 2 hours and the time flew by. I was ready to stay in the dimly lit auditorium forever, listening to the intriguing stories told through the seamless combination of magical music and angelic voices. If it wasn’t clear already, I absolutely loved this show.

“Listen to the song that I sing and trust that we’ll be okay.” Come to the show and feel the power of those words.


Songs for a New World is showing 6th – 1oth of February in the ADC Theatre. Book your tickets here.

Feature Image Credit: Paul Ashley

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