The sultry tones of Billie Holliday’s I’ll Be Seeing You welcome us into the auditorium of Pleasance Courtyard. A man stands in full makeup and a wig cap and slowly goes through the motions of a routine. His stare is fixed and haunting. The performance that then unfolded in front of us was enchanting, engaging, and highly original. A witty and touching script from Joel Horwood taps into some really deep emotions, and Milo Twomey and Jay Taylor delivered the lines with raw heartfelt feeling.
Lovesick Michael/Lulu played with brilliance and grace by Twomey is a transvestite from the town of Peterborough, a place that revolves around conformity, who becomes the only guardian of his son, Hew, a boy that he has never met. Both Hew and Lulu refuse to be fenced in by society and, as a cabaret duo, they embark on a journey to find themselves. The journey takes us through the struggle of coming to terms with your sexuality, family problems, and unrequited love.
The show is practically non-stop dialogue, with huge sections of monologue from Twomey who commanded the audience’s attention and hearts with the earnest storytelling of his unrequited love interest, Mark. The beautiful description of the painful nature of love really was highly effective. Joel Horwood taps into the wonderful yet painful realities of love - describing it as ‘doing somersaults in the shallow end’ captured the audience instantly. Twoney also takes on his female and male role superbly. He easily switches from high to low pitch and is so convincing as Lulu that at points you completely forget you’re watching a man. Equally, Taylor provides a touching performance as Hew and contributes much of the show’s soundtrack on his piano and show-stealing vocals. With the addition of some well-known eighties dance classics, the music was a shrewdly chosen backdrop to the cheesy bars of Peterborough.
This is a show that requires concentration. It is easy to get lost in the storyline if you are not giving it your full attention, which can be quite demanding. However, it is definitely worth keeping up with the pace of the piece and, once you’re used to the style of narration, it’s much easier to follow. Apart from sometimes being a little hard to follow, it is an exciting, innovative piece of theatre. The two actors complement each other brilliantly and they are working with a magnificent script and direction. Horwood has a great skill in being able to create a mental image of a place or time just through cleverly written dialogue. This show is a definite must-see, but even more so it’s a must-see-again.