‘Since U Been Gone’ is a beautiful, compassionate, funny show about friendship, identity, self-discovery and life after loss. This autobiographical piece, written and performed by Teddy Lamb, is packed full of humour yet succeeds in sensitively talking about mental health struggles and suicide. They really land the sense of helplessness we can feel when a friend is not OK. We’re told to reach out and talk to each, but not the hows and whats. What if your dearest friend is not OK? And what if your friendship is not enough?
‘Since U Been Gone’ is rich with cultural references and evocative anecdotes that bring both the period (do the noughties qualify as a period yet? they should) and this story of friendship to life. Teddy Lamb understands that a friendship can be as powerful as any great love story, if not more so, and the friends they have lost continue to shape their life, even if it is only in missing them. There is a real sense of a Jordan shaped hole in Teddy’s life. The girl who helped them with their fashion choices back when they were ‘he’, is not there to explore their new life and wardrobe, or meet their new friends.
Music infuses the show and Nicol Parkinson is a wonderful presence on stage throughout. They are both musician and performer, and provide a wonderful “too cool for school” vibe that taps in perfectly with Lamb’s narrative. Director Billy Barrett delicately balances the interaction between these two performers, so that every exchange, from the smallest look, lands perfectly. In fact the whole piece is meticulously calibrated to both deliver humour and break the heart. I cried. There’s a reason I don’t wear eye make-up to the theatre.
‘Since U Been Gone’ is running at the Vault Festival in the 7.30pm slot until 9th Feb. It had a packed house last night, so I’d book in asap to guarantee a seat. It is well worth watching.