Southwark Playhouse – until 21 December 2019
What is it? Nicola Wren brings her one woman show about siblings to the Southwark Playhouse after a successful Edinburgh Fringe run earlier this year.
What is it all about? Wren is here, in London performing her show for her adoring fans. As she enters the space, she laments on the difficulties and highlights of life as a superstar, and stumbles as she notices four empty seats in the front row. Signs that read RESERVED FOR VIPS indicate that some important people have not turned up, and Wren is well aware of it. Her four older siblings haven’t come to see the show, and as she swallows her words and stops herself before spilling out a ‘what is the point of doing the show if…’ she is taking us back in time to her stage debut and making clear her superstar origins.
But as the story unfolds, we begin to realise that the piece is not just about her life and how she forged her own path, but about the impact her older brother Chris has had on her. As it is revealed, Chris is not just a musician in a band, he is actually Chris Martin, of Coldplay fame, and this revelation leaves a mark on the life that Nicola has been living.
How did it make me feel? Completely relatable and very touching, Wren tells a story of family and growing up in one of its loveliest forms. Her performance is engaging and energised from start to finish, and her comedy timing is absolutely perfect.
The subject matter, while completely unique to Wren, is also universal for anyone with siblings or family that they are constantly trying to gain approval from. The audience are immersed in Wren’s memories and taken to her school discos, her drama school classes and her childhood Christmas dinners.
Direction by Sadie Spencer is excellent, as Wren uses simple devices to indicate various things and moments in her life, in particular the use of a clothing rain to also work as a stage curtain, among other things.
Anything else? A fantastic piece of theatre that is completely honest and paints a very realistic image of what it is to grow up in a house of over-achievers. Amy x Superstar is playing at Southwark Playhouse until the 21st December 2019. If you like our reviews and want to support this blog feel free to buy any of us a virtual coffee here!