Highly descriptive writing from Holly Fitzpatrick, conjures up a tangible world you can see and sense, during this staged read-through of Lavender, at The Wardrobe Theatre this week.
The play, which is in its second stage of development, is a queer story of two friends, growing up in Devon during the noughties and twenty-tens.
Utilizing both flashbacks and flash-forwards, we see an unlikely friendship develop. Where is it going? Where has it been?
As the story unfolds, we have the tantalizing question – when will they realise they’re in love?
Images of childhoods on the beach, strawberry bootlaces and chasing steam-trains are ghostly echoes intermixed with jealousy over a fumble with Bart during Homes Under The Hammer. Taking drugs. Arguing over religion. Different backgrounds, different schools.
A town where the fragility of one railway track crumbling into a stormy sea cutting off communities and opportunities from the rest of the country echoes the tumultuous relationship between Lucy and Nancy. Chalk and cheese. The class divide bumps along between the pair like a tectonic plate. The energy waves rippling through the relationship where they are simultaneously connected and drawn to each other as much as they appear chaotic and out of sync.
Leah Ingall as the middle class unworldly Lucy and Laura King as sparky and edgy Nancy, deliver a captivating performance with script-in-hand. Director Holly Fitzpatrick narrates stage directions, painting soothing and perfect words where set and sound might be.
It’s a gripping show, particularly the first two thirds, although the build up towards the ending feels like it might need a bit more clarity.
It’s a fab piece of theatre that takes that important step in validating and exploring developing queer relationships in a part of the South West which probably isn’t quite as dynamic and open minded as Bristol. Particularly the female experience, which has had fewer voices bringing those stories to a wider audience.
It will be interesting to see the final work, which will hopefully return to Bristol in the future.
For more information about the show, visit: https://www.lavenderplay.co.uk/
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