Cover My Tracks at the Old VicCultureTheatre
Music makes us remember. Songs stir emotions, take us back to forgotten places, or evoke the presence of a loved one. In Cover My Tracks music is memory, and those memories are coloured with pain.
Jade Anouka plays Sarah who is grieving for her lost friend, Frank, played by Charlie Fink. Frank is a songwriter who disappeared without a trace after a brief commercial success. Sarah talks to Frank, reminiscing about their time together as she wanders the country, searching for signs of him.
This show isn’t quite a musical; it’s more like a gig with a story. Charlie Fink’s music is sublime, and David Greig’s script positions Sarah’s dialogue to fall over the sound of the guitar like spoken word poetry.
Sarah is our narrator. Jade Anouka is a very talented actor, and in this role displays her flair for accents and caricatures. While Anouka manages this very well, it feels slightly remiss to have these cartoonish sketches at all. While the rest of the production does the utmost to create intimacy, Sarah’s narration comes dangerously close to undoing it all. Thankfully, lucid moments in which the script is more vernacular and her interactions with Frank redeem some of the rambling accounts of, well, rambling.
In addition to the music and script, the design of this production has its own lyricism. Tangled fairy lights reside in a heap on the floor, conveying a sense of deflation or perhaps a reluctant admission that the party is over. The late-night slot really works in this show’s favour and the production team embrace this with blue lighting and haze. Conjuring the feeling of a cramped jazz bar in the grand Old Vic theatre is no mean feat, and the result is effective and impressive.
The standout feature of Cover My Tracks is, without a shadow of a doubt, Charlie Fink’s music. His unquestionable skill and his effortless shifts between playing whimsy and brooding are perfect for the character. Although Jane Anouka has a far more emotionally volatile character to play, it is Fink’s guitar and lyrics that make the audience misty-eyed. Fans of Noah and the Whale and Laura Marling will not be disappointed with this indie-folk score.
Cover My Tracks addresses big questions and heavy themes. The script doesn’t always hit the right notes, but the music certainly does.
Photo: Manuel Harlan
Cover My Tracks is at the Old Vic Theatre from 5th June until 17th June 2017 and at Latitude Festival, Henham Park, from 13th until 16th July, for further information or to book visit here.
Watch a video about Cover My Tracks here: