Sugar Coat @ Southwark Playhouse Review

Owning who you are is a complex process, one that takes time to fully realise. Our teenage years a time where we start to consciously make some sort of sense of this – a time where we awaken and rebel. Sisterhoods a vital support system outside of our own families that further define our journeys. Initially premiering at the 2020 edition of the VAULT Festival, Joel Samuels and Lilly Pollard’s punk rock musical Sugar Coat returns to the Southwark Playhouse stage with its unapologetic observation of a young woman’s journey from adolescence through to early adulthood.

Courtesy of Ali Wright.

A tender, feisty, revelatory production, Sugar Coat does anything but that! And it’s this unashamed approach at tackling subject matters often pushed to the periphery such as sexuality and trauma that really gives the evening its charm. No stone is left unturned, realities are not glossed over and this is refreshing to experience. Dani Heron‘s lead bravely narrates her own story, one filled with beautiful highs – a high achieving GCSE/A-Level student on her way to pave a path in the sciences and getting into a new promising relationship, and devastating lows – events beyond her control impacting heavily on her wellbeing.

Narration interlaced with song, Heron, alongside fellow band members Rachel Barnes, Eve De Leon Allen, Anya Pearson and Sarah Workman embolden the space with anthemic rhythms – songs the lifeblood of the evening that are worked seamlessly into show. Barnes, De Leon Allen and Workman all fleshing out the world of our lead with their characterisations of her parents, friends, flatmates and band mates. Samuels and Pollard tap into the show’s sisterhood component well, there’s a feeling of camaraderie throughout that endears. Celine Lowenthal directs a punchy, lively show that beams with confidence. The evening isn’t at all afraid to observe vulnerabilities and creates a perfect safe space to explore sensitive issues further. Ruth Badila‘s neon, serif Sugar Coat signed – black and white 90s photographic imaged backdrop encase the show is a nostalgic haze that feels immdedaite to the Millenial/Gen Z demographic. Sugar Coat is a bold, brazen look at womanhood that speaks to today.

Written by Lucy Basaba.

Sugar Coat is currently showing until Saturday 22nd April 2023 at the Southwark Playhouse. To find out more about the production, visit here…

Written by Theatrefullstop