It's not often that you come across something truly original. Winner of the Total Theatre Award for Music and Theatre, My Name Is Sue is probably the most bizarrely original, unexpected and funny show currently playing in London. Maybe anywhere.
Sue (a note-perfect performance in every sense by Dafydd James), is a middle-aged piano-playing spinster living in Cardiff. Her room is decorated with pictures of herself and a shelf full of skulls. A seemingly quiet and unassuming woman, in the course of an hour she travels through her past in song, from childhood family teas of cake and cheese, to the painful demons of bereavement and nightmarish visions of Armageddon. And then takes the audience on a bus tour of Cardiff.
Accompanying her are three more Sues, on cello, violin and drums/guitar. They sit unsmiling, barely moving, adding to the weird and unsettling feeling but also to the humour of the production. At times it feels wrong to laugh. There's that uneasiness about finding humour in another person's pain, as Sue's warmth and endearing nature come face-to-face with tragedy and insanity. But this show is as hysterically funny as it is bizarre – an observational musical comedy with an extremely dark edge. Victoria Wood meets mad prophet of doom.
The direction by Ben Lewis is sure, the music excellent, the effect disturbing but strangely uplifting and certainly memorable. If you like your comedy dark, insane yet endearing, you'll love Sue.