Theatre review: The Eye of the Storm, King’s Theatre, Edinburgh

IT’S thought that there are almost three-quarters of a millIon young carers in the UK today; and Emmie, the heroine of this award-winning new musical from Theatr na nOg of South Wales, is one of them. Emmie lives in a mobile home park with her mum, Angela, who has serious mental health problems. She is 15, and has already been caring for Angela for seven years; but somehow she keeps it all together – the school work, the medications, the cruel mood-swings, the crises and the constant effort to keep the caravan clean and tidy.

Rosey Cale plays Emmie Price in Eye Of The Storm

The Eye of the Storm, King’s Theatre, Edinburgh ****

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Yet Emmie is also a girl with dreams. She wants to become a meteorological physicist, studying the tornados that are her hobby and obsession; and in writer-director Geinor Styles’s exuberant musical play – with songs and lyrics by Amy Wadge, all performed by a formidable cast of eight who double as the live onstage band - we watch her find a way to make her dream come true despite many setbacks, including the active hostility of her embittered physics teacher. Rosey Cale sings like an angel and acts like a true star in the central role of Emmie; and with the rest of the company offering a whole range of fine voices and powerful music-making in support, Styles brings this hard-hitting and necessary piece of 21st century popular theatre to an upbeat conclusion that may be just a shade starry-eyed, but that young Emmie has earned, every hard step of the way.