Thursday, 13 September, 2001

Young writer Leo Butler has come up with a new offering that is gripping, depressing and disturbing. However, you do get the feeling that you have seen it all before!!

The story concerns 17 year-old Lucy, who lives alone in a damp and dirty council flat. She is neurotic verging on a nervous breakdown. She seems lost and searching for attention and love. She has a boy friend twice her age who does not treat her well and a baby who has been taken into care. Her life seems to be a disaster already. She has no mother or father, and only her sister and grandmother to care for her. However, she is destructive towards them.

This is the story of a young woman fighting for survival in a world in which she trusts no one. She craves the attention and love of a man in her life to such an extent that she strikes out at anyone who challenges the reality of her make believe fantasies of a committed boyfriend and father for her child. At the same time she refuses to be a doormat for the men she fantasies about.

This play contains certain scenes that are distressing. My only gripe is that this kind of suffering has been written about so many times. However, it is a well-written drama that is solid and captures the tone of the situation perfectly. I knew some people very similar to these characters from my younger days. I wonder if the author is writing from his own experiences?

As in all these types of dramas there is no happy ending. Most disturbing of all is that I felt helpless. I mean, sometimes there are messages and lessons one can learn from a play, but with this I found no such thing, only the helplessness of watching a young woman on a self-destructive path that neither she nor anyone else is able to stop.

Lyndsey Marshal produces a powerful and convincing performance as ‘Lucy’. She captivates as she draws you into her troubled and tortured life. There is a fine performance from Simon Tinder as the naïve Darren and a terrific performance by Eileen O’Brien who perfectly captures the facial expressions of a grandmother, disgusted by her granddaughter one minute and yet passionately concerned the next. Wil Johnson, Craig Heaney and Rachel Brogan make up this fine ensemble.

The play has received moderate notices from the popular press.... PATRICK MARMION for THE EVENING STANDARD says, "Sex, drugs, rock and dole are the corner stones of Leo Butler's witty, sinister and finally depressing drama." LYN GARDNER for THE GUARDIAN says, "Butler writes with an acute ear for the cadences of everyday speech, and shapes the narrative with impressive skill. " DOMINIC CAVENDISH for THE DAILY TELEGRAPH says, "The piece has a malnourished quality that its sporadic outbreaks of violence fail to conceal."

A Powerful story with solid acting, but a little too depressing for me!!

(Darren Dalglish)

Photos by Ivan Kyncl

Links to full reviews from newspapers...

Evening Standard
The Guardian
Daily Telegraph

Looking for the best seats...