The ‘overnight success’ of Liam O’Rafferty’s debut musical Paper Hearts reads like a page-turner in its hero’s bookshop.
In fact it has taken four long years for its author to find the sort of success others only dream of.
Paper Hearts was a sell-out success at Waterloo East Theatre and went on to win rave reviews at the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe. It is now back in London this spring, transferring to Upstairs at the Gatehouse next month before embarking on a tour to Germany in the summer.
Set in an independent high-street bookshop, this lovely, up-lifting, new British musical is about passion and finding your place in the world – a world among books.
The musical comedy follows assistant Atticus Smith, a talented but lazy writer, who lives vicariously through his novel’s characters.
His bookshop is threatened to be taken over by a large online book retailer, owned by his estranged father. The arrival of the effervescent Lilly Sprocket, sent to take over the management, turns Atticus’ world upside down.
Plodding through life and working in a struggling bookshop seemed all that Atticus is cut out for. His novel has hit a brick wall, and everyone including his father believes he has no talent and no future.
Despite an instant dislike for each other, Lilly forces Atticus to face the modern day reality he lives in and learn from the characters of 1940s Russia that he has created in his novel.
Paper Hearts stars Adam Small as Atticus Smith and Gabriella Margulies as Lilly along with Matthew Atkins, Sinéad Wall and Alasdair Baker.
Also appearing are Alec White, Eleanor Toms, Amy Gardyne, Ben Boskovic and Joel Benedict.
Paper Hearts runs Upstairs at the Gatehouse, Highgate, from May 2-20.
Read Stage Review’s exclusive interview with Paper Hearts creator, Liam O’Rafferty here.