Writer: Sam Underwood
Reviewer: Tom Ralphs
Losing Days is part gig, part road-trip, part confessional and part look at mental health issues from an insider’s perspective. That it currently fails to fully deliver as any of these, may be because it attempts to do too much.
Framed around recreating his father’s Beatles covers band, the Box Larrys’ gig that never actually happened, Underwood gives himself a reason to move between music and story-telling, but the story has only a passing connection to his father’s life and the music are the songs of Frank Turner, not The Beatles.
The story starts by looking at his problems in past relationships, before focusing specifically on his relationship with actor Valorie Curry, and the discovery that he is bi-polar. The understanding of this provides him why he is like he is, coupled with the recognition that there is little or nothing he can do about it, take him into the darker areas of his life, and moments of despair where Turner’s music in particular helped him to pull back from the brink.
Underwood recognises the need to talk about depression but also the general reluctance that people, including himself, have in doing so. He harshly, brands himself a hypocrite for making an observation he struggles to follow. However, it’s perhaps because of this struggle that it feels as if he is hiding behind a stage persona for a lot of the show, and the person he is talking about is a character he is playing rather than himself.
Stripping away the extra layers of the performance, or using his experiences to create a fictional piece, could lead to something that would really bring home the impact of mental illness, but at the moment it feels like it is caught between several stools with a lot of unfulfilled potential.
Runs until 27 August 2017 | Image: Contributed