This production is a Stage Must-See

My Name is Sue

Pleasance Courtyard

Theatre Reviewed by Gerald Berkowitz

Like the hitherto-unacknowledged daughter of Hugh Hughes and Eleanor Rigby, Dafydd James' creation treads the line between the real and the grotesque, the comic and the pathetic.

In a nondescript dress and real-looking long hair, James as Sue sits at the piano and sings her relentlessly cheery, falsetto songs about having tea with her family, watching her favourite movie, riding on the bus and the like, occasionally backed by a small band who look like the Kransky Sisters (or Winona Ryder in Beetlejuice) on downers.

But as the bizarre performance goes on, we might notice that the family tea was a respite from being bullied at school, the movie ends in bloody vengeance and the happy bus trip morphs into a vision of hell.

Sue's story, co-written by Dafydd James and Ben Lewis, gradually becomes like one of the small tragedies in Dylan Thomas's Under Milk Wood, a cheery exterior disguising a dark and complex inner life.

My Name Is Sue can be appreciated as a bizarre comic creation, the subtle presentation of a quietly sad characterisation, and a cleverly written and entertaining song cycle. It is certainly one of the most unusual, remarkable and memorable hours on the fringe.

Published online
Review by
Gerald Berkowitz
Published in The Stage Newspaper on
Produced by
Dafydd James & Ben Lewis
Running time
1 hour
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