Review: Since U Been Gone (Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh)
Teddy Lamb's coming-of-age story in the noughties runs as part of HighTide and the Queer House's season at the Edinburgh Fringe
Teddy Lamb's new piece, running as part of Queer House and HighTide's Edinburgh Fringe Programme, is a coming-of-age story of sorts. Except it's not about teen angst and very young love. It's about what it's like to come to terms with losing best friends and discovering how to love yourself. It's a "memory play" says Lamb, congenially out to the audience, and it comes straight from Lamb's own raw experiences.
Lamb is an upbeat and down-to-earth performer, sharing the stage with musician Nicol Parkinson who wears some very high heels and a glittery dress. Parkinson provides the rock and pop-heavy soundtrack to what is essentially Lamb's memoir, where they detail meeting best friends for the first time at school, defining sexual experiences, bunking off lessons and doing all sorts of ridiculous things in the noughties in Warwickshire.
But the piece, as the title suggests, aims to be more about all the things that have happened since the point Lamb lost their closest – like the fact that Lamb's pronouns have changed to they/their and they've worn a dress in public for the first time. Lamb's self-awareness, confidence and identity have morphed, but their best and deepest friends are not around to see it.
It's a slightly messy, if charming slip of a thing, which never really varies from its one note, but still offers some real insight into queer stories of growing up and coming out. Lamb is also moving when discussing their deep friendships and how supporting a loved one in deep depression is a complex and knotty thing. In fact, one of the reasons the piece feels a little all over the place is that this could have made a play all on its own. Since U Been Gone doesn't stick to its weavable thread and, as a result, it is all-a-tangle.
But it's a diverting hour in the company of some relevant, important stories about the trans-experience, which is definitely what we need more of.
The piece will also run as part of the HighTide Festival in Aldeburgh from 10 to 15 September.