Summerhall, Edinburgh – until 28 August 2022
Sarah-Louise Young is a professional singer with an impressive career that includes West End shows such as the Julie Andrews musical Julie Madly Deeply, smaller scale work like An Evening Without Kate Bush, and directing.
She is brisk, charming and authoritative, engaging the audience in vocal warm-ups as they take their seats. Her confident stage demeanour sets the scene for a one-woman show that becomes remarkably revealing and painfully honest.
She tells us about her visits to a consultant about her growing vocal problems, traced to cysts on her vocal cords which have been there since she was seven years old. That’s when something traumatic happened that made her scream so hard she permanently altered her voice.
Young’s storytelling techniques are light touch but clever. She uses a looped scarf to represent the vocal cords, taking us on a tour of the anatomy of the throat and climbing inside her own pharynx. She also sings her own original songs, in a beautiful voice cured, as we discover, by surgery.
Her tone is bright and at times seems like a jolly front. However, the material uncovered in her story around the sexualising of young women and the treatment of performers, is anything but. Young strikes a clever balance between entertainment and challenge, distilling all her experience to captivate the audience from start to finish.