Girl From The North Country

Heartbreaking musical sets Bob Dylan's songs against Depression-era tragedy

Presented by David Mirvish
Written and directed by Conor McPherson
Music and lyrics by Bob Dylan

The cast of GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY Toronto/London Company. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann, 2019.

The Canadian premiere of Conor McPherson's unconventional musical Girl from the North Country is now playing at the Royal Alexandra Theatre. Set in a guest house in Duluth, Minnesota, during the winter of 1934, the show weaves a beautiful selection of Bob Dylan's songbook through a devastating story about a family and community on the brink of disaster.

The narrator, Dr. Walker (Ferdy Roberts), introduces us to a group of characters thrown together by desperate circumstances: guest house owner Nick Laine (Donald Sage Mackay) is close to financial ruin and struggling to care for his mentally ill wife Elizabeth (Katie Brayben), their unemployed, alcoholic son Gene (Colin Bates), and their adopted black daughter Marianne (Gloria Obianyo), who is pregnant with the child of an unknown father; the widowed Mrs. Neilsen (Rachel John) is a regular guest who has become involved with Nick; Mr. Burke (David Ganly) and his wife Mrs. Burke (Anna-Jane Casey) arrive with their adult son Elias (Steffan Harri) who is the mental age of four; Reverend Marlowe (Finbar Lynch) is scheming to sell the word of God at any cost, and Joe Scott (Shaq Taylor), a Black boxer who was wrongly imprisioned, seeks shelter from an unjust world. Another visitor is Mr. Perry (Sidney Kean), an elderly man who offers to take the expecting Marianne into his home. 

Dylan's songs complement the feelings expressed on stage and are brilliantly delivered by a committed ensemble who also play instruments throughout the piece. Some of the better-known titles performed include: "I Want You," Hurricane," "Make You Feel My Love," and "Forever Young." Brayben's mad Elizabeth steals the show with an unhinged redition of "Like a Rolling Stone," and Obianyo and Taylor standout as two vulnerable young people in search of a better life. 

Featuring decade-appropriate costumes and props, Girl from the North Country is a richly layered and moving production that takes us back to a dark time in history. Dylan fan or not, its worth giving this unique spin on his music a listen.

Girl from the North Country runs until November 24, 2019 at the Royal Alexandra Theatre. Visit for more information and to buy tickets. 

Show Dates: 
Fri, 2019-10-11 - Sun, 2019-11-24
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