After it premiered in 2013 the Tim Rice and Stuart Brayson musical From Here To Eternity is back in the London for its first major revival. Following recent rewrites and two successful productions in the US. The musical has been reenvisaged and is now a more intimate and visceral telling of the lives and loves of G Company in the weeks leading up to Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour. Directed with skill and an obvious love of the work, Brett Smock reframes this musical in a very watchable manner. Set in traverse on a palm fringed multi-level set it quite literally brings the action up close, exposing every detail.

Performed in such a small space adds to the pent-up frustrations and feelings of confinement suffered by the soldiers. They are biding their time waiting for war, with little to do other than exercise, fight amongst themselves and seek sexual encounters wherever they can. Some too close to ‘home’. It has some stand-out performances with clever direction and simple use of ammo boxes to create the different locations, which gives it a flow and pace. This is a musical that should punch hard and there are some parts of the story where that is more successful than others.

Although too clean-cut with never a bead of sweat, the scenes between the men of G Company are incredibly powerful with everyone one of them embodying their own individual angst. The still moments in the show are less successful as characters change direction of delivery so that both sides of the auditorium get to see their faces. This weakens some of the emotional power of the solo numbers that should tug at the heart strings.

As the prize fighter soldier who refuses to box Jonathon Bentley as Prewit has exactly the right level of steely determination and delivers one of the shows big numbers ‘Fight the Fight’ as an anthem to his perseverance. Then switching to tenderness in his scenes with Desmonda Cathabel as Lorene the girl he pays over the odds to be with. Having only graduated this year she gives a mature performance and has a gorgeous voice. Jonny Aimes is exceptionally good as Italian private Maggio, the tragic joker, deflecting Company racism and in the end paying the ultimate price for it. He is one of the few characters that has real depth, in part due to his role being more fully written.

The songs are at their best audibly in the bluesy numbers such as ‘At Ease’. Here sung beautifully by Adam Rhys-Charles as Warden and I’ll Remember the Day’ sung with such heart by Carley Stenson as Karen, Captain Holmes (Alan Turkington) beleaguered wife who turns to Warden for love to fill the void. However, it’s a shame that the balance on most of the full-scale numbers is out and overpowers the voices and the lyrics.

It is great that this musical has another opportunity for those that didn’t see the original. Its themes of isolation and entrapment feel very close to home for a post pandemic society suffering the economic effects of war. Is this a timely revival or not? I guess like a lot of classic musicals the audiences will decide.