Review: Lucy Light, VAULT Festival

Sarah Milton’s Lucy Light is a powerful tale of female friendship tested to the max at the VAULT Festival

“You don’t have to do any of this on your own”

Is it wrong to like Atomic Kitten’s cover of ‘The Tide is High’? I suspect the answer would be a resounding yes for most people but for Lucy and Jess, two teenage girls from a northern seaside town, (and let’s face it, me), they’ve even got the dance routine from the video down pat, complete with brilliantly improvised wind machine.

They’ve just finished their GCSEs and life ought to be hunky dory but Lucy’s mum has got breast cancer, casting a shadow not only over this summer but over the next ten years as we see in Lucy Light. For the genetics of the c word, particularly when BRCA 1 is concerned, is a bastard but Lucy is prepared to make some tough decisions.

Sarah Milton’s play visits this pair of best friends at 15, 22 and 26, a crucial decade for both, as though the ramifications of Lucy’s choice to undergo a pre-emptive mastectomy is eloquently woven throughout every scene, the play is much as about the minutiae of ‘normal’ life too.

The endless hangovers, being stuck in dead-end jobs, growing up in the same place as your high-school crushes and above all, the intensity of those friends and family bonds that get you through the worst of times. And Emmy Rose and Amy Clark both give beautifully pitched performances as they show all the messy complexities of the journey from teenage angst to young adulthood.

There’s a very occasional lapse into unsophisticated ranting where authorial intent is a little too obivous. But ultimately, this is only obvious because of the authentic voice full of subtleties that is prevalent elsewhere in Lauren Dickson’s production – the voicing of the bloody unfairness of it all, the tangled business of agreeing to disagree, the hushed beauty of that final scene. 

Running time: 1 hour (without interval)
Photos: Fay Summerfield
Lucy Light is booking at the VAULT Festival until 17th March

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