Nottingham Playhouse: Lit by Sophie Ellerby (original review)

As part of Nottingham Playhouse’s Spring Loaded season we highly recommend that you catch Lit by Sophie Ellerby. on June 1st as a Watch Party and downloadable show.

We gave the original production four stars and you can read our review below.

Bex (Eve Austin) is fifteen years old, full of life and almost too young to be buzzing with a youthful and overly wilful calculated sexuality that she naively uses to attract men for what she believes is love in return. She thinks her allure makes her the one in control. Some might describe her as a wild child, a temperamentally unpredictable personality, tossing her adolescent body and blonde hair in unbridled abandonment to the pounding music anthem of her teenage years. She may be mouthy and blind to the help that is being offered her by her foster mother Sylvia (Maxine Finch). She may be totally incautious in dealings with her relationships with her male school friend Dillon (Josh Barrow) and his older bullying and manipulating brother Lee (Keiran Hardcastle). Bex may repel all that get to know the brash surface of her defiant personality that is all self defensive and outward bravura and yet her new, and very unlikely bookish friend Ruth, (Tiger Cohen Towell) and Ruth’s father Mark (Jim Pope) may offer some salvation to a young person who is actually very vulnerable. Only time will tell.

Playwright Sophie Ellerby’s tactic in bookending her one act play with scenes showing Bex strongly emoting about parting with her new born baby gives us the essential dramatic key to seeing Bex in much more than one sulky shouty pouty dimension. And so, this top quality theatre writing, where each character has multiple, gradually exposed, strands to their personality and motivations echoing the reality of human beings off stage, makes us attend to the Lit story unfolding and seriously consider the central theme of sexual consent and its actual and potential abuses. For a début play which tackles provocative societal questions in a very human way this work is, as Bex might say ‘Some f*cking hot sh*t of a play-yah!’ This reviewer can hardly wait to see what comes next from this local talent’s future plays; plays that will hopefully put Ellerby in the same female Nottinghamshire playwrights league as Amanda Whittington and Jane Upton.

Reviewer: Phil Lowe

28th September 2019

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