There’s an element of where to begin. And the truth is, the best place to begin is walking into any theatre space. Appreciating the Sherman Theatre’s trigger warnings, Lose Yourself, is a space in which there is much to explore.
And Lose Yourself is everything. Carla Goodman’s setting creates this ridiculous clarity. I am reminded of the block design of drama in my comprehensive school. And in this, the transition from to adulthood.
Katherine Chandler’s script is ridiculously deceiving. Because nothing really does prepare you for where this story takes you. When the penny suddenly drops, and the alignment with news stories is made, it’s subtle. All of the assumptions and stereotypes are underwhelmed as the commitment to each of the three people has been made.
Introduced to Nate, Yas and Josh, allegiances may be formed. Nate (Aaron Anthony) is the confident, 32 -year old footballer. Yas (Gabrielle Creevy), working at a nail-bar with aspirations to work on a make-up counter. Josh (Tim Preston), an up-and-coming 18- year old footballer, with every knowledge of live fast or die young.
And through Katherine Chandler we are introduced to the lives of each hold close through a fantastic pace, and poetry of language. Carefully, because whilst in reflection it is hard-hitting, the reality creeps in. Of the friendships and sibling relationship of Yas; of Josh’s love for Meg; and, Nate’s marriage and parenthood.
This is the magic which hurts. Patricia Logue’s direction appears to play on the coarse and the base of humanity, but the underpinning emotion gently creeps in and overwhelms. The carefully orchestrated scenes where there is no physical contact, but every bit of physical contact is felt. The three characters are understood as much through association as empathy.
The language, the monologues, magically bring so much to reality. From knowing Tony, the taxi driver to the cold reality of the bathroom floor.
And so, whilst each character become personable, if not likeable. There is the clever kick. The kick is absolutely uneasy. And this is the magic. The black magic. It is the reality which may chime through headline or association.
Lose Yourself features three fantastic performances. Each creating a character which creates an emotional response to the choices made. Gabrielle Creevy was a joy in using language and compelling monologues which not only stimulated the imagination through words, tone and pace but in creating the challenge to accepted behaviours.
I reflected recently on the productions which create a response, and impact lives. Katherine Chandler’s Lose Yourself is a demonstration of how successful theatre is in initiating a conversation. Lose Yourself challenges, and enables reflection on how we reached a place of passive acceptance of lifestyles determining behaviour.
I cried. I don’t think I’ll ever listen to ‘Sail On’ without thinking of this piece. With reflection, I know, this is something to be seen again. The kick forces reflection on Nate and Josh. But for now, it’s about Yaz walking into the station.
Lose Yourself is at the Sherman Theatre until 25th May with tickets available via the website.
Disclosure: I was invited to the performance for the purpose of this review.