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You Once Said Yes – The Lowry, Salford

Writer: Morgan Lloyd Malcolm &Katie Lyons

Director: Ellie Browning

Reviewer: Laura Maley

[rating:5]

To get the full experience of You Once Said Yes, it is essential that reviewers and other audience members don’t give away the surprises. You Once Said Yes is so thrillingly good that – luckily for all involved in the show – the audience wants to keep those secrets, so that others can discover and interpret the work anew.

Look Left Look Right is a site-specific, interactive and documentary-theatre company, all of these special skills are used in You Once Said Yes. The Salford incarnation follows an award-winning run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2011, as well as success at The Roundhouse in London.

You Once Said Yes is a promenade performance (meaning you need to be mobile for a reasonably brisk walk) on which you are a lone audience member. You are given a full briefing before you have a number of encounters with a range of characters. Cleverly, this is done with great fun and energy and really puts the audience member at ease. You are made to think, to advise, to reflect on some of the decisions you have made, and to become part of someone else’s life for a short time. You may find you will laugh, feel concern, bond over childhood memories and very nearly cry. The final pay-off for you the single audience member is great, although the walk to the final destination a little nerve-wracking, with absolutely no idea what to expect.

The route, timing and locations are well-organised and managed, the contribution of logistics – as with all promenade performances – cannot be underestimated in relation to the success of the final piece. Director Ellie Browning and writers Morgan Lloyd Malcolm and Katie Lyons work with the surroundings to create a fully immersive experience and the cast, without exception, do a brilliant job. For case almost as much as audience You Once Said Yes must provide challenges every performance. It’s a brave endeavour for a performer – I’d be fascinated to know what made them all say yes!

Participating in You Once Said Yes provides enthusiastic conversation among my friends as we meet up after our individual shows – and it also opens up conversation with other audience members, which adds to the uplifting feeling of the show. This is a truly unique performance experience; dare to say ‘yes’ and you will be richly rewarded.

Runs until 16 September

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