Review / ‘The Last Time’ at the Belconnen Arts Centre

The Last Time, written and composed by Lucy Matthews, co-directed by Lucy Matthews and Miriam Slater, Acoustic Theatre production in association with Shadow House Pits, Belconnen Arts Centre to 31 January. Reviewed by Len Power

Kat Bramston as Caroline

Lucy Matthews’ play, ‘The Last Time’, focuses on the relationships between four young people and their need for love and the modern day issues that get in the way of it. For a young audience member, the characters will be instantly recognizable.

Older audience members will find themselves comparing these people’s experiences with their own when young in a very different world to today’s.

Lucy Matthews has written very real characters who are played with great confidence and skill by her young cast who also sing well. Frances McNair gives a fine performance throughout the show and her strong singing is particularly stylish.

Hayden Crosweller scores as a young man who can’t make his mind up between sex and love and Kat Bramston nicely plays the confusion of emotions in her relationships between very different friends. Katherine Berry plays the coolest character of the four with great assurance.

The band-leader, in ‘Cabaret’-like Master Of Ceremonies makeup, is a strong presence in the show and is hauntingly played and sung by Samuel Gordon Bruce.

The music by Lucy Matthews is pleasant but a bit generic. There are some good lyrics but some are jarring to the ear and need refining. The band plays the score well but some of the drumming swamps the singers’ voices.

The script needs some cutting, particularly in the second act where the squabbling of the characters becomes more soap opera than good drama. The show has been well-directed in the round and has fine lighting by Edge Sound And Lighting. Overall, Lucy Matthews has produced a startlingly strong, at times confronting musical, which is also very enjoyable.

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