Che Walker and Arthur Darvill's musical version of the former's play has been described as feelgood, although bittersweet might be more accurate. In a bar that's about to close through lack of custom, barman Barney (Omar Lyefook) watches as the few remaining customers meet, flirt and argue. The central couple of Simone (Cat Simmons) and Raymond (Arinze Kene) meet one week and end up sleeping together; a week later their relationship has already become complicated. Although all the main actors have some very funny moments, the main comic relief comes from the sex-mad Yvonne (Naana Agyei-Ampadu, frequently stealing the show) and confused, homicidal virgin Gil (Harry Hepple.) While on the surface the most pathetic characters, they're in a way the easiest to sympathise with because while everyone in the play is a loser (as Barney admits, this is a bar for losers) at least these two are aware of it.
The performances are all excellent and the songs are great, although in the second hour especially they seem to hold up the action rather than help advance it. Walker also directs and the whole thing is very slick, and I have to mention designer Dick Bird's gorgeous set. Overall it's very funny and well worth seeing, but there's definitely a bitter edge to the comedy.
Been So Long by Che Walker and Arthur Darvill is booking until the 15th of July at the Young Vic.