A play about the blight of cancer but also about self-discovery, Sarah Milton’s Lucy Light, directed by Lauren Dickson, portrays the friendship of two teenage girls spanning about ten years from Lucy’s (Emmy Rose) mother’s death from the disease to her own breast cancer diagnosis and, after remission, her decision to have a preventative mastectomy.
While both funny and serious, this highly moving piece is well-written and witty as it examines the harrowing turmoil and grief associated with illness. Beginning with typical teenage banter between Lucy and Jess (Amy Clark) about the usual topics, their conversation morphs into contrasting gravity as the two grow up and confront cancer head on. Particularly heart-rending is their discussion of Lucy’s decision to have a bilateral prophylactic mastectomy, and the devastating ways in which such a surgery can affect one’s self-perception as a woman.
The touching bond between Lucy and Jess is strong – the latter whose normality keeps the protagonist grounded. If it were not tempered by outrageous humour, the narrative may have been a difficult-to-watch tear jerker. As so often is the role of comedy, it allows a relief from the pain of a subject involving sorrow, distress and suffering. A primary message seems to be that we should live in the now, appreciate every moment, and above all cherish our friends and loved ones.
Adding to the excellence of their hilarious, poignant and very honest performances is the terrific chemistry of the actors. Performer interaction with the audience provides a Brechtian effect, maintaining a sense of realism. A detailed yet basic set (Frances Roughton) minimises distraction, focusing attention on characterisation, of which the sound (Emily Linden) is appropriately evocative.
Pondering the meaning of life, change, transformation, tragedy and female identity in very transient times, Lucy Light is thought-provoking, emotionally gripping, entertaining, and above all lovingly human and hopeful.
Photo: Fay Summerfield
Lucy Light is at the Cage from 13th until 17th March 2019. For further information or to book visit the show’s festival page here.
Read more reviews from our Vault Festival 2019 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Vault Festival website here.