It took over a decade for Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey's Broadway hit Next To Normal to come to London and, given the multiple Olivier nominations it reaped after its run at the Donmar Warehouse, it has now transferred to Wyndhams.

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2010 and winner of 3 Tonys (from 10 nominations), it is rare that a show of this pedigree appears in Taiwan, Philippines, Singapore, Australia and China (China!) before finally coming across the pond, albeit the long way round. Part of that may be to do with the topic - bipolar Diana struggles to cope with the detrimental effects grimly cascading onto the family around her - or perhaps that is a rock musical, a genre which produces very polarising productions (for every bona fide smash like Bat Out Of Hell and Rocky Horror Show, audiences suffer through total dreck like We Will Rock You and Cages).

The current cast and director have transferred in their entirety from last year's stint at the Donmar. Canadian-American Cassie Levy leads a mostly British cast and is utterly convincing as the soccer mom who is devoted to her two kids Gabe (Jack Wolfe) and Natalie (Eleanor Worthington Cox) and her husband Dan (Jamie Parker) but is struggling with her mental health issues. Her frenetic manner sees her rush from having sex with Dan to making ham and cheese sandwiches on the floor of her kitchen. Medication and therapy improve matters but ultimately Dan and Diane are forced to turn to more drastic measures.

Parker won an Olivier for playing the grown-up boy wizard in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and he is charismatic as the despairing husband, a portrayal dripping with buckets of pathos. Worthington Cox was one of the few to escape Ivo van Hove’s disastrous Opening Night earlier this year with any credit and, as she showed in Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem and Britannia (for Sky), she is one of the brightest talents of this generation. She sensitively plays Natalie, growing into a relationship with Henry (Jack Ofrecio) which goes from touching displays of young love through to heart-rending episodes mirroring her mother’s fragile mental state.

The musical barely dips into the sentimental and is all the stronger for it. Yorkey’s book and lyrics do nothing to hide the dark consequences of Diana’s choices for herself, her loving spouse or her offspring. Michael Longhurst’s direction turns the focus onto the human side of the situation and takes us on a painful but ultimately cathartic journey. It is Kitt’s music, though, that binds the whole thing together. Delivered with Mick Jagger-like confidence by Wolfe, “I’m Alive” is an effervescent rocket of a song. “I Miss The Mountains” is the point where we all fall in love with Levy’s Diana and feel truly sorry for her plight.

Easy to love but hard to watch, Next To Normal deserves all the plaudits coming its way.

Next To Normal continues at Wyndham's Theatre until 21 September.

Image: Marc Brenner