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The Secret Life of You and Me (Salford)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Venue: The Lowry
Where: Salford

A smiling personal welcome at the door and a celebratory glass of pink fizz are the memorable first and last moments of The Secret Life of You and Me - a delightfully personal and thoughtful one-woman show by Lowri Evans.

At once the audience feels welcomed into Evans’ world, as she opens up a live scrap book of stories and memories which she tells with a lovely lyricism. Evans’ interest in memory stories is piqued by her ‘day job’ working with people with dementia. For an audience member there is a lot to relate to, whether it’s memories of turning 30, or remembering a best friend from childhood.

There’s also a very real sense that Evans is searching for her place in the world and trying to understand why some events turn out as they do. Fractured glimpses of a long distance relationship weave carefully in and out of all the other stories. A show with so much personal reflection could become navel-gazing or self-indulgent, but Evans avoids that fate by being more broadly focused on memory and by having a narrative which moves carefully from place to place without dwelling unnecessarily.

There is a high technical element to the show, with many props controlled by Evans on stage, which is time-consuming at points. Some of the illustrations projected are too small, or move too quickly, to read which is frustrating. But Evans’ creativity often ensures a good pay-off – from messages on steamy windows, to a gorgeous story about wearing a rabbit outfit; from photographs from a TK Maxx shopping trip to the mis-typed "Downtown" lyrics.

While full of life-affirming and poignant memories, the show is also very funny – the recording of a phone call with her father brings loud applause as does the sight of Evans in glamorous cocktail dress, crash helmet, goggles and sparkly sandals going up a ladder.

The Secret Life of You and Me is full of heart and honesty. Evans is charming and warm in a brave performance which leaves the audience buoyed for having shared part of her very special Secret Life.

- Laura Maley


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