No one ever said that life was easy, but it’s what you make of it which defines who you are.
A heartfelt and emotive recollection of youth
Recalling the past with a tender – if somewhat bittersweet – nostalgia, Teddy Lamb is an engaging and modest performer; quickly establishing common ground with the audience and creating a warm and intimate feeling in the room. It doesn’t feel so much as theatre as it does a reunion amongst old friends. There are no theatrical flairs, no elaborate set changes or even the emphatic rhythm of monologue. Rather, this is a spoken-word memoir about growing up in the Noughties and finding your identity through grief.
Accompanied on stage by musician Nicol Parkinson, the narrative is softly undergirded by the cosy resonances of mellow synth-pop. It adds a welcome dimension to the piece, and softens the tone for what is objectively difficult and heavy content.
As the title suggests, a large focus of the piece is how they deal with mourning, with two of Teddy’s closest friends having passed away. These pivotal moments work as catalysts for a deeper analysis of Teddy’s own life. Since then, they’ve found confidence in their trans identity and worn a dress in public for the first time. It is hard to negotiate your own self-confidence in the shadow of death.
Aside from this central element, there seems to be little in the way of literary consistency. What are beautifully-written and poetic reflections on life appear anecdotal rather than plot-driving. Childhood romances are interspersed with considerations on friendship; supporting friends through depression are located next to self-doubts about Pride events. The result is a more authentic and relatable composition – if Teddy is striving for truth rather than theatre, then what better way to do it than to reflect the inconsistencies and messiness of life in the storyline itself?
Since U Been Gone is a heartfelt and emotive recollection of youth and being forced to grow up in the wake of grief.