Slightly self-conscious Nobody

This is theatre on a shoestring – several of them in fact, strung across the traverse stage.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 30th January 2015, 3:29 pm
Oh Susannah
Oh Susannah

They are used to dangle stage props or lighting effects above two performers acting out an ordinary story of a young woman’s life.

Part drama, part duologue and part art installation it’s another of those small-scale theatrical experiences perfectly housed in the black box setting of the university’s multi-purpose venue.

As part of Lancaster Institute of Contemporary Arts it has developed into a theatrical laboratory for experiments in staging, an incubator for new talent.

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The umbrella organisation Live at LICA, in this the university’s 50th anniversary year, is committed to staging more such entertainment away from the actual campus and out in the community.

Whether Life & Loves is quite ready for such wider distribution is doubtful. It’s brimful of ideas, with a dark twist in the tale that makes the audience complicit in the fate of the Nobody concerned.

But it’s still a little too self-conscious to be truly absorbing.

Achieving some of those string-driven effects seems to take an eternity, only for their dramatic value to be quickly cast aside.

The story of a life cruising inexorably towards a collision with destiny pulls its final dramatic punch, leaving you to guess just which way the audience might vote...

Producers Third Angel and Sheffield Theatres have clearly invested a lot of time, energy and thought in the performance. The one-night staging here attracted a young and appreciative student crowd, as well as other maverick theatre practitioners like Tim Crouch and Andy Smith, so given that type of encouragement there’s no reason yet to be dissuaded from further developing and even extending the life of a Nobody.

David Upton