Lifesaving

Lifesaving is an entertaining and surreal hour of theatre which focuses on the lives of two teenage siblings, Sandra and Jamie. Although the younger, Sandra has always looked after Jamie because he was born with the cord around his neck so his mental age is younger than his physical age. Jamie has done something bad, so Sandra has taken him to hide outside of town while the boy she fancies sorts things out.

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.

Reviews by Grace Knight

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Sandra and Jamie have run away from home. You see, Jamie has done something, something bad, and Sandra has vowed to look after her near mute, CPR obsessed little-big brother until their friend Andy comes to save them.

But when help finally arrives at their countryside hideout it is not quite what they were looking for.

Rob Drummond is a playwright, performer and director. HIs wide ranging work includes Rob Drummond: Wrestling, for which he trained as a professional wrestler, Bullet Catch, for which he trained as a magician and Quiz Show, which won a CATS award for best new play in 2013. Previous Play, Pie and a Pint work includes Top Table and Rolls in Their Pockets.

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