After award-winning success at the Edinburgh Fringe and on tour, one-woman show Lost in Blue, written and performed by Debs Newbold, transfers to the Lion & Unicorn Theatre for its first full London season next month, running from 15 to 26 February 2020. Time to get booking!
In Lost in Blue, one of the UK’s most acclaimed storytellers, Debs Newbold, blends playful live music and sound technology with a funny, raw and uplifting narrative about the impact of coma on a fractured family.
Through the prism of Vincent van Gogh’s famous late work, Bedroom in Arles, Debs explores the phenomenon of living life in a coma, issues around end of life, and the healing power of art. The piece is directed by internationally renowned teacher and director John Wright, also known as a founding member of acclaimed theatre companies Trestle and Told by an Idiot. Sound design is by Kieran Lucas.
“Nothing is absolute. Everything changes…everything flies and goes away” – Frida Kahlo
Annie is amazing at art. When she was three years old, her life was skewed off-course. On her 18th birthday, it threatens to happen again. Where do people go when they are in a coma? What happens when a family disagrees about how long to let a loved one hold on? What would van Gogh say about loss if you hung out with him in his room at Arles? And what do pigeons have to do with it?
Lost in Blue toured the UK in 2016 and 2017, including a critically lauded run at the Edinburgh Fringe, winning the 2016 Summerhall Edinburgh Fringe Acting Award. It has also featured at Bestival and twice in The Roundhouse’s Last Word festival. The dates at the Lion & Unicorn will mark its first full London run.
Describing where the show came from, Debs Newbold said:
“The initial idea came when I lost my nan, who I was very close to. I found a very old recording of her voice on minidisc (remember those?). It was the only recording of her voice that we had. I managed to play it, and it knocked me for six. Hearing the recorded voice of a loved one who has died is as near to an encounter with a ghost as I can imagine. The sound is an echo of their physical body. An afterburn.
“I began to think about how a person can be both absent and present at the same time. I got an image of a man in a coma. I saw him and I saw his daughter, like a painting. He lying on a bed, she looking out of a window, waiting. And another woman too, unable to speak. That’s where it began.”
Debs studied oil painting while writing this work and has since become an abstract landscape artist.
What the critics say
“Debs Newbold is nothing short of astounding… a master teller and special effects artist” – ★★★★★ Theatre Eddys
“A gripping story…As hilarious as it is poignant” – ★★★★ Broadway Baby
“Fascinating and controlled… Lost in Blue walks a tightrope between spoken word, live literature, comedy… Newbold is charismatic and we root for her from the off” – ★★★★ Reviews Hub
“A beautiful and intricate story… Newbold does some amazing things with a microphone and loop deck” – ★★★★ Three Weeks
“In its careful, colourful layers, it’s as textural as a painting; in its use of motif, it sings like a piece of music” – ★★★★ Fest
“Newbold captivates you every step of the way” – Gloucester Citizen
Debs Newbold is a multi-award-winning storyteller, director, performer and playwright who creates fresh, playful work that gets deep under the skin. As a performer, Debs has made work for venues such as the Royal Opera House, the Southbank Centre, Hay Festival and Shakespeare’s Globe as well as many other theatres and festivals both in the UK and internationally. Debs is one of the UK’s leading performance storytellers and her genre-defying collaborations with renowned director John Wright (Told by an Idiot) have helped re-define contemporary storytelling, resulting in two acclaimed shows: Under Her Skin and Lost in Blue. A third, Outrageous Fortune, which was due to go on national tour in 2020 before COVID-19 hit, has now been made into a film. Debs’ celebrated solo adaptations of Shakespeare’s tragedies have toured internationally.
As a director, Debs has made work for: Shakespeare’s Globe Education; Creation Theatre; Komola Collective; Mr. Wilson’s Second Liners; Half Moon Young People’s Theatre; Rose Theatre Kingston. Her most recent production as director, a musical adaptation of Bleak House for Creation Theatre, garnered multiple 5 Star reviews. Debs recently wrote and performed the monologue I Cannot Sleep, part of Rusty Quill’s chart-topping podcast series for Historic Royal Palaces. Her play Rising Up, inspired by the legacy of the 1819 Peterloo massacre, opened at HOME in Manchester in October 2019 before going on national tour. She is a Fellow of the Young Foundation, FUSE playwright at Leeds Playhouse and winner of the Summerhall Acting Award at the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe.
John Wright (director) is an internationally renowned teacher and director. He has taught workshops all over the world, and is author of “Why is that so funny?”, a respected guide to comedy for actors, directors, students and teachers. John was a founder member of the acclaimed theatre companies Trestle and Told by an Idiot. His version of Dr Faustus with III Party won the Peter Brook Award, and his Fragility of X with Coal Theatre won a Spirit of the Fringe award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Lost in Blue runs from 15 to 26 February 2022 at the Lion & Unicorn Theatre, 42-44 Gaisford St, London NW5 2ED, with performances Tuesdays to Saturdays at 7.30pm. Tickets £14 (concessions £12). CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!