Lipstick at Southwark Playhouse
Yet another wickedly interesting and thoughtfully entertaining show hits Southwark Playhouse this month. Lipstick, directed by Ed White, is a funny, charming and at times hard-hitting piece that brings with it a timely message.
Written by Lily Shahmoon, Lipstick is the story of Tommy, a teenage boy who likes to wear makeup. This is discovered by his neighbour and school classmate Jordan. The boys continue to hang out together, open up and share their lives.
In a world that’s gone quickly from blindness or aggression towards anything non-binary to being obsessed with categorising each person into neat buckets, Lipstick presents an interesting and relevant message. Not everyone is a something. Not everyone fits into the labels we’ve created. And it’s not those labels which give people identity.
Shahmoon’s writing effortlessly zips from sniggering fun to emotional explosions and back again. The dialogue is sharp throughout, each scene works well and the relationship between the characters is beautifully built layer by layer. The ending is perhaps the only thing that’s slightly underwhelming.
For a two-person cast, things could hardly get any better. April Hughes and Helen Aluko, who play Tommy and Jordan, are both Harry Potter and the Cursed Child alumni. Under White’s direction, both play their parts flawlessly, but in the more demanding role of Tommy, Hughes’ performance is particularly powerful.
The play makes glorious use of the smaller space at Southwark Playhouse. A nearly bare set on the face of it works perfectly as the teenage Tommy’s bedroom, while clever lighting transforms it into other locations in an instant.
Lipstick is an interesting and enjoyable show from start to finish, an intimate piece that feels right at home in the intimate Little at Southwark Playhouse. And there’s a killer, if slightly outdated, soundtrack for anyone who enjoys the likes of The Killers, Keane, and Foo Fighters.
Photos: Lidia Crisafulli
Lipstick is at Southwark Playhouse from 4th March until 28th March 2020. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.