Within this monologue Stephanie Greenwood does an excellent job of portraying several different personalities. There is her 7 year old self, delighted with a recently acquired dolls house, but at the same time angry at the loss of her grandad; her sassy 13 year old self mourns a grandmother; and we meet a Polish ancestor who insists upon playing the perfect hostess in spite of suffering an injury to her foot (with dire consequences). Stephanie regales us with stories of family history, both recent and from previous generations, and the whole experience is most definitely a treat.
The theme linking the stories, however, is that of death, as promised by the blurb, with one death in particular causing the narrator some difficulty. A friend is referred to in short snippets throughout, the circumstances of her death and the events leading up to it revealed only gradually. Clever lighting and sound effects add to a developing sense of dread, almost overwhelming grief and guilt, until the friend’s name is finally revealed – Lindsay Riddoch.
Although the subject is that of the loss of loved ones, it is not all doom and gloom. There are some funny lines, a birthday gathering for which party hats are provided, and a few people are even lucky enough to receive birthday cake. These lighter moments throw into relief the more sombre aspects of this piece.
Despite being just under an hour long – which passes really quickly – an awful lot is covered thanks to the skilful writing and the order of events depicted.
The show is supporting a couple of charities: ‘Words That Carry On’, which is investing in mental health research in memory of Lindsay Riddoch, and ‘Papyrus’, a helpline for prevention of young suicide.
This is a very engaging, moving play about an important topic that affects many people. Highly recommended.
Written by: Stephanie Greenwood
Directed by: John Michael MacDonald
Produced by: Charlotte Keith for Very Rascals
Box Office: 020 3841 6611
Booking Link: https://www.actorscentre.co.uk/theatre/its-beautiful-over-there/book
Booking Until: 15 February 2020