Romantic Manga Musical

“Every sound is beautiful to me “

Kaori Miyazono

Mia Kobayashi as Kaori and Zheng Xi Yong as Kosei (Photo: Craig Sugden)

Your Lie in April is a Japanese Anime Manga musical, by Naoshi Arakawa, which features Kosei Arima (Zheng Xi Yong) a brilliant musician, who loses the ability to play the piano after a traumatic event.  A beautiful and talented violinist Kaori Miyazono (acted and sung by Mia Kobayashi, with violinist Akiko Ishikawa) will help him regain his musical gift.  The story has components like Erich Segal’s 1970 film Love Story and is as heart breaking.

We start with Kosei recalling the cherry blossom of April and how she lied to him on one occasion.  He is playing Beethoven on the piano but his mother (Lucy Park) is haranguing him saying “It has to be perfect!” She is the proverbial Tiger Mom and we see the little boy (Timothy Jian Soon/Eoin McLoughney/Theo Oh) at the grand piano.  What we are hearing sounds like child abuse but it is this discipline which means Kosei practises until he becomes an exceptional pianist. 

Rachel Clare Chan as Tsubaki Sawabe and Zheng Xi Yong as Kosei (Photo: Craig Sugden)

We jump to school and meet Kosei’s classmates Tsubaki Sawabe (Rachel Clare Chan) who really likes Kosei and the college Jock, Ryota Watari (Dean John-Wilson).  Ryota is throwing poses on the baseball field.  Kosei says he cannot hear the notes properly and that he can only see in black and white.  Both his friends Tsubaki and Ryota try to persuade Kosei to resume playing the piano. 

A new transfer student arrives, the beautiful violinist, Kaori Miyazono and she tells Kosei she wants to be Ryota’s girlfriend.  There is good comedy from Dean John-Wilson as Ryota with his exaggerated physical sportsman persona and self-important moves.  The three friends go to a music competition where Kaori’s brilliant violin playing is too modern for the judges.  They say, “Entrant number 14 made a mockery of this competition,” but she wins the popularity audience award and gets into the second round. 

Dean John-Wilson as Ryota Watari (Photo: Craig Sugden)

They go to a café where Kosei explains that he cannot accompany her because he cannot hear the piano notes and we learn about his mother’s death with thunder and rain darkening the stage.  In the exciting second round, beautifully lit in conjunction with the music and the audience joining in with their hands, Kosei accompanies Kaori.  

The second act has tragedy but I shall not go into this now.  The set is dominated by the proscenium arch covered with cherry blossom and transforming video scenes illustrate changing locations behind the leaded windows, including a panorama of the stars in the night sky for the romantic duet and highlight, “Catch a Shooting Star” sung by Kosei and Kaori. 

Rachel Clare Chan as Tsubaki Sawabe (Photo: Craig Sugden)

All the cast have very fine voices and Zheng Xi Yong also plays the piano as well as acting and singing, not to mention his degree in law! I liked Rachel Clare Chan as Tsubaki singing “Where’s my Superhero?” about her affection for Kosei and his gentle reply which is still devastating for her, “I love you very much, but not in that way.”  When Kaori plays the violin she is choreographed with the bow and her back towards us but at other times she sings with Akiko Ishikawa playing the violin.  The final scene will be a spoiler but does illustrate the finest musicianship in this talented company.

This is the first London musical with a cast 100% drawn from the East Asian community and is sure to find an audience that will love its Anime origins and beautiful production values.  You might want to take a handkerchief as well for your emotional involvement.  

Akiko Ishikawa as the Violinist and Mia Kobayashi as Kaori. (Photo: Craig Sugden)

Musical Numbers

Act One

If I Can’t Hear The Music 

  This Is Our Time 

  Perfect (Preprise)

  One Note 

  Perfect/One Note 2 

  Just Like A Movie 

  Who Put You In Charge Here? 

  Where’s My Superhero? 

  One Note 3/At Last 

  This Is Our Time (Reprise)

  4.9 (Speed of Sound)

In Your Hands

Act Two

One Single Moment 

  Just Like A Movie (Reprise) 

  Catch A Shooting Star 

Look How Far We’ve Come

  Home Free 

  Come Find Me 

Edge of the World

  One Hundred Thousand Million Stars 

  100 Lost Days 

  Perfect (Reprise) 

  One Single Moment (Reprise)

  I Can Hear You 


Production Notes

Your Lie in April

Based on the Manga Your Lie in April 
by Nosh Arakawa
Book by Rika Sakaguchi
English Language Book by Rinne B Groff
Music by Frank Wildhorn
Lyrics by Carly Robin Green and Tracy Miller

Directed and Choreographed by Nick Winston



Zheng Xi Yong

Mia Kobayashi

Rachel Clare Chan

Dean John-Wilson

Lucy Park

Akiko Ishikawa


Chris Fung

Eu Jin Hwang

Mairi Ikegami

Gracie Lai

Imogen Law H

Ing Choi

Jojo Meredith

Daniel Nardone

Ericka Posadas

Ernest Stroud

Ria Tanaka

Kevin Tristan

Little Boy: 

Timothy Jian Soon

Eoin McLoughney

Theo Oh



Director and Choreographer: 

Nick Winston

Set Designer: Justin Williams

Costume Designer: Kimie Nakamo

Musical Supervisor: Katy Richardson

Lighting Designer:  Rory Beaton

Sound Designer: Rob Bettle

and Adam Fisher

Video Designer:  Dan Light

Musical Director :  Chris Poon

Musical Arrangement

and Orchestration:  Jason Howland


Running Time: Two hours 30 minutes with an interval

Booking until 21st September 2024 


Harold Pinter

Panton Street

London SW1Y 4SW

Tube : Piccadilly Circus

Telephone: 03330 096 690


Reviewed by Lizzie Loveridge at the Harold Pinter Theatre

on 5th July 2024

Cast. (Photo: Craig Sugden)