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Responsible Other

  • Theatre, Drama
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

‘Do you even know what a kidney is?’ It’s a question asked by Daisy, protagonist of Melanie Spencer’s debut play. Well Daisy does, because she’s on the verge of losing one.

She’s a typically rude, brash, know-it-all teenager. But she’s also got lupus, the symptoms of which are notoriously hard to pin down, debilitating and often life-threatening. Having recently lost her mother to cancer, Daisy struggles through her bleak fifteenth year, looked after by a father who is fraught with worry at his daughter’s illness and disintegrating school grades and his own money problems.

There’s a lot of woe potential there and towards the end, it does all get a bit much. At the play’s climax, the drama will most likely leave you blubbering all over the 80-seater Hampstead Downstairs.

But aside from slight emotional overkill, Spencer’s script generally paints a realistic, witty portrait of a complicated modern family. Spencer, who also directs, focuses on the journey Daisy and the rest of her family must take to stop feeling like victims and enjoy life as best they can.

As Daisy, Alice Sykes throws her harsh, smart-arsed one-liners about with gleeful comic timing. She is excellent and hits the perfect balance of teenage loathing, confusion and vulnerability. The rest of the cast are strong too, with a hilarious turn from Yetunde Oduwole as a Nigerian nurse who offers Daisy’s family some timely, well-considered advice. ‘Responsible Other’ isn’t perfect, but it is a bold, funny and impressive debut.

By Daisy Bowie-Sell


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