Writer and Performer: Debs Newbold
Director: John Wright
Reviewer:Ruby Isla Cera Marle
Annie is 17, defiant, anaspiring artist and a daydreamer. After 15 years of living in sun-soaked Australia, Annie and her mother are relocating back to the UK, Birmingham to be precise. Her father, Paul, has been in a coma for over a decade, kept alive only by a wheezing ventilator.
Lost in Blueis Debs Newbold’s one-woman show (well, technically the instantly likeable Brummie is also joined onstage by Roland, a loop back and sound effects machine that Debs claims is her collaborator), a piece of live literature that follows Annie, her mother Sarah and a whole assortment of characters as they try to rebuild their lives back in the UK, lives for many that have paused, frozen in time the day of Paul’s catastrophic accident.
Newbold is a storyteller who weaves her yarn in such a fascinating and controlled manner. She knows exactly how to hold an audience in the palm of her hand and, although we hang on her every word, there is an intimate quality to Lost in Blue;it feels as though she is recounting the tale of her strained family dynamic to you and only you. A wordsmith at her core, every word is considered; for example, Sarah doesn’t simply chop the vegetables, instead she ‘beheads the carrots’. Her comical and eloquent lexicon is a real joy.
Although Paul is lying motionless in his sick bed, we are privy to his internal monologue and his active, wandering mind. There are echoes of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, particularly apparent in the pair’s father-daughter relationship that forms the heart of the tale. In Paul’s alternate reality, he escapes to the Blue Room, Vincent Van Gogh’s Blue Room. Without giving too much away, the scenes between Paul, Van Gogh and Newbold as the narrator are laugh-out-loud funny. AlthoughNewbold is the mouthpiece for all of the characters, we half expect to see the protagonists standing side by side, a testament to the vivid picture she paints.
Lost in Bluewalks a tightrope between spoken word, live literature, comedy. Newbold is charismatic and we root for her from the off. InLost in Blue explores theempyreal power of artand the unbreakable bond shared by a family.
Reviewed on 5 June 2016 |Image:Farrows Creative