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Review: Lost Soul – Royal Court Theatre

IT’S not difficult to see why Dave Kirby’s Lost Soul has become one of the Royal Court’s most requested shows. Following the play’s well received premiere at Unity in 2006, the Court staged a revival in 2007, in a bid to continue their success earlier that year with Brick Up the Mersey Tunnels (co-written by Kirby) and it didn’t disappoint.

Lost Soul has a much more solid structure than Brick-up, and whilst it still has all the risqué humour it also has a real dramatic heart. Centring around two couples Donna and Smigger (Lindzi Germain and Andrew Schofield) and Pat and Terry (Catherine Rice and Jake Abraham) it’s a tale of two middle aged couples trying to put the spark back into their threadbare marriages.

Donna struggles to understand why Smigger wants to hit the same old bars around town with Terry every weekend but, when she discovers that her sister Pat has been seeing a pub doorman behind Terry’s back, it causes all four of them to reflect on how their lives have changed. The Lost Soul of the title might refer to the music of their youth that brought them together, or it might be a reflection of how Smigger and Terry are set adrift when Terry realises Pat’s betrayal.

Either way, with the help (or maybe hindrance) of a spaced out barman, wonderfully bought to life by Lenny Wood in a magnificently funny characterisation, they retrace the steps of their collective past and find a way to resolve the issue through a convenient family connection.

A revolving set makes for quick scene changes that keep the pace going well and genuinely witty dialogue, with some tremendous one-liners, guarantees to keep the audience laughing. However, as with all good comedy, there’s a rich vein of pathos running very close to the surface and the cast revel in reversing the mood at the turn of a heel.

This is vintage Royal Court material brought back to life with some clever little tweaks to the text for contemporary reference, and the audience response provides justification, as if any were needed, for putting it back on the stage.

Lost Soul continues at the Royal Court until 8th April.

Review by Nigel Smith


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