Score @ The Royal Festival Hall (WHY Festival) Review

Friends are your extended family. They’re there for you during your darkest, as well as your lightest moments. Score, explores the value of friendship, with the added weight of drug addiction. Written by Lucy Bell, the piece places the everyday lives of two teens centre stage.

Score

There’s no airs and definitely no graces as Hannah and Kirsty battle their way through the daily challenges of denial and dangerous choices. Two mothers fighting for perhaps the greatest gift of all, their children; the duo must slip away from the hands of the all encompassing barricade of drug addiction in order to break out of the monotonous and often depressing cycle.

Score starts as it means to go on, Kathleen Fitzpatrick-Milton‘s Hannah and Lara Simpson‘s Kirsty emit a Thelma and Louise solidarity; both of them mavericks in their own right, unapologetic about it and the audience can be rest assured that they will both be each other’s rock to cry on… or will they? Unapologetically navigating their way through the piece, an acapella soundtrack of 90s brit pop, noughties r’n’b and 60s soul, all arranged by  underscore the evening. Fitzpatrick-Milton offers a jazz fuelled, soul induced tone to the evening, her vocals beautifully anchoring the musical interludes. Simpson delivers a no holds barred, bold vocal, both collaborating to depict a world of sassiness. Symbolic of the protagonist’s state of mind, All SaintsNever Ever‘, Nina Simone‘s ‘I Got Life‘ and Alicia Keys ‘Fallin‘ immediately speaks to the 14-25 year old demographic, and are all well considered choices, bearing in mind that they all grasp the feelings of love and heartbreak.

What gives the play it’s backbone is the bravery of the parents currently recovering from the consequences of drug addiction who contributed their stories to playwright Lucy Bell, creating a source of inspiration for the piece. Placing two young females in a not so glamorous type of light is brave; challenging the typical presentation of teens either clashing with authority, or pining over their latest crush. This in turn contributes to the ever growing spectrum of female identity presented on stage.

Score features a cast of two, however we’re presented with a variety of characters along the way, from a case worker, to a drug dealer. These personalities have the potential to shift the mood of the production, however they never truly do so. The cast would benefit from truly differentiating the characters by embodying physicality, which in turn will support their changes of dialect or accent which they manage to succeed in.

The piece is steady, apart from the depiction of Hannah drug taking the once that really packs a punch. Score is safe, and doesn’t truly feel like there is jeopardy along the way. The undercurrent of the two young mothers fighting for the right to see their children should truly move me to tears, however I am not. Lizzie French‘s wired fence staging upstage presents a frantic energy, as props such as costume pieces are scattered all over the striking set piece. This energy in part does feature in Stephanie Kempson‘s production, however the emphasis lays in the power of the voice and how it can bring anyone together which is a lovely thought to leave with. 3/5

Review written by Lucy Basaba.

Score was shown at the Royal Festival Hall from Thursday 22nd until Friday 23rd October as part of this year’s WHY Festival. For more information on the festival, visit here…

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