Rob Drummond's script is well executed, with its surreal elements ably brought out by director Alan McKendrick; the world of the play is unsettling, fluctuating between the familiar and the unfamiliar.
Lynn Kennedy gives a wonderful performance as the naive Sandra, managing to be both abrasive and sweet, precocious and vulnerable. With the majority of the dialogue, she holds the audience's attention with ease, all the different colours of her character's complex teenaged mind coming out at the right moments. She is ably supported by Daniel Cameron as the quiet Jamie; he does a great deal with facial expressions in this role, and is particularly strong in the moments where we see a genuine connection between the siblings.
Rob Drummond's script is well executed, with its surreal elements ably brought out by director Alan McKendrick; the world of the play is unsettling, fluctuating between the familiar and the unfamiliar. One directorial choice is to have the two performers mainly facing the audience – although, as they frequently respond to each others’ facial expressions, it’s clear that in the world of the play they are actually facing each other. This mild surrealism works best when illustrating the minds of the teenagers, especially Jamie; it’s less impressive when, later on, the characters smoke cannabis and we see inside Jamie’s less-than-original “trip”.
Where the play falls down is with its story. The first half is about the relationship between the two siblings; about half way through, that storyline is dropped without resolution in favour of one where Sandra is prayed on by an older man. The fact that this older character is not even named, but simply referred to as 'Male' will give you some idea of the level of subtlety with which this is done. He is an anonymous threat, reducing Sandra to the role of vulnerable girl.
Overall, Lifesaving is an entertaining opportunity to see some unusual theatrical techniques in use. It’s just a shame to see such an aesthetically interesting play telling such a well-trodden, old-fashioned morality tale.