The road from stage to screen can be a rocky path: a musical should not, for instance, unfold as a string of music videos but establish a coherent visual language. It’s this that is lacking in Nick Winston’s reworking of his own stage production of the same title.
Tomorrow Morning follows married couple Jack (Ramin Karimloo) and Catherine (Samantha Barks) through two distinct phases of their relationship; it juxtaposes the idealistic adoration felt before their wedding day with the animosity that comes a decade later when the pair quarrel over divorce settlements and property rights. This stark contrast is intended to reflect the ebb and flow of domestic partnerships as well as the individual evolution that occurs between young adulthood and middle age. Once an aspiring novelist, Jack is now shackled to an advertising job while Catherine’s painting career flourishes.
Probing these contemporary concerns, Tomorrow Morning could have been an intriguing slice-of-life musical drama. But there are real problems: the haphazardly sketched characters render the piece soulless and the sketchily conceived set decoration means that couple’s penthouse lacks a lived-in quality – it looks like a nondescript real estate show home, holding none of the memories of a decade-long marriage. The rudimentary visualisation of the songs doesn’t help either.
While stage productions of Tomorrow Morning have earned some favourable reviews, films like Dear Evan Hansen prove that even a successful musical can turn into a mediocre film. I’m unsure if these are from the songs that were newly written for the cinema adaptation, but lyrics like “I stay around through thick and thin/While you behave like Ho Chi Minh” are especially jarring on screen. Under such shaky direction, even a charming cameo from Joan Collins can’t breathe life into this tepid affair.
• Tomorrow Morning is released on 6 September in cinemas.