Sugar Coat by Joel Samuels & Lilly Pollard. Southwark Playhouse, the Little, 77 Newington Causeway, London SE1 to 29 April 2023. 5*****. William Russell.

Stunningly performed by a cast of five this joyous celebration of being a woman shocks, enlightens, and is from beginning to end an evening of not quite theatre, not quite gig, but as good as it gets as Dani Heron, blessed with good no nonsense Scottish vowels, tells of her life from schooldays to settling down – sort of – in a menage a trois. Along the way there is romance at school with Dean (Sarah Workman), which leads to an unwanted outcome, support from her understanding mother (Rachel Barnes), a miscarriage, rape as a student at university, and a life after with problems about sex and penetration which get resolved, with a little help from a therapist, after she meets a nice young woman, thinks about same sex, then discovers the nice young woman has a partner and the world of polyamory opens up. The show was previously seen at the Vaults and the audience at Southwark were clearly meeting old friends but new ones are welcome and one learns an awful lot one did not know – what a wide-on is being one. It is an evening to laugh, to cry at – because Heron is telling about a pretty difficult journey to adulthood – and to enjoy the songs which the five belt out brilliantly. Heron breaching the fourth wall, confiding in the audience, seldom at rest for a moment while holding forth, is astonishing and director Celine Lowenthal pushes it all along at breakneck speed.


Rachel Barnes, Eve De Leon Allen, Dani Heron, Anya Pearson, Sarah Workman.

Director: Celine Lowenthal.

Sound Designer: Lucy Baker Swinburn.

Lighting Designer: Martha Godfrey.

Set & costume Designer: Ruth Badila.

Co-musical direction: Lilly Pollard & Anya Pearson

Production photographs: Ali Wright.

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