Standing at the Sky’s Edge is a true celebration of the Steel City and its people. This spectacularly gritty musical is centred around one of Sheffield’s most iconic landmarks: Park Hill flats. Whilst the building’s brutalism divides opinion, this musical has a unifying quality, focusing on three generations clinging to their dreams of a better life and their desire to become settled in the city of seven hills.

The story is edgy, honest, and raw. There are no sugar-coating issues of forgotten voices, and the audience is left with a mix of emotions. Numerous decades, three families, and one house. We are taken on a journey from Park Hill’s 1961 opening, a utopian vision of post-war futurism - through its demise at the end of the 20th century - ending with its gentrified revival. Told through the eyes of three families, we start with a steel worker and his young wife in the 1960s, the 1980s is seen through the eyes of a Liberian immigrant family, and finally, the 2010s brings a London yuppie looking to escape the big smoke.

Standing at the Sky’s Edge features classics by Sheffield crooner Richard Hawley, is directed by Sheffield Theatres’ artistic director Robert Hastie and penned by Chris Bush. The script, music and direction are crafted with total attention to detail. The actors seamlessly guide us through the story and songs, skilfully taking the audience from laughter to tears.

The stage is something to behold, perfectly encapsulating the domineering concrete monolith that is Park Hill. These uniform concrete flats (or duplexes) are recreated perfectly within the Olivier Theatre. It even includes the famous ‘I love you will you marry me’ graffiti—now a piece of neon art—glistening above.

The whole ensemble is sublime. They flow seamlessly through six tumultuous decades and it is impossible not to empathise wholeheartedly with the characters. Full of tremendous talent, the standout performer for me was Rachael Wooding, playing Rose - a doting wife pushed to the edge, her anguish reaching a crescendo with an outstanding rendition of After The Rain. Bobbie Little, playing Connie, beautifully bookmarked key moments throughout, a perfect fit for the part. And Faith Omole, playing Joy, had me on the edge of my seat and hooked on her character with both her acting and singing. Although impeccably acted and humorous, I did think Poppy’s hot-cold relationship with Nicki could have been more concise to reduce the runtime.

It’s easy to see why this show has been dubbed a love letter to Sheffield. Showcasing humour, fortitude, and an uplifting community spirit, the message was clear: whoever you are, wherever you are from, you belong - although it might not always seem that way.

Debuting at the National Theatre after a sell-out run at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre, some of the local references of Fulwood and Hendo’s may be lost on this London audience, however; that takes none of the shine away from this musical full of heart. Although a full immersion in everything Sheffield, the story is all too relatable within British society, making it a total must-see wherever you are from. At almost three hours, including a 20-minute interval, ensure you’re fed and watered beforehand. Certainly not one to be missed.