Review: The Lovely Bones @Northern Stage

When someone you love leaves this earth, a part of you leaves with them- at least that is what I have found.

I don’t suppose theatre reviewers should really connect with a piece of theatre on a personal level or have that emotional involvement. Yet with The Lovely Bones, I am 100 per cent involved.

Susie Salmon (Charlotte Beaumont) is dead and she is in her heaven, observing her family and friends who are all coping with their grief in their own ways. Susie’s Dad must find her killer, her Mom just wants to live life and her sister, Lindsay is trying to grow up. Susie is desperate to communicate and there may be- just maybe a way of connecting with them.

Award-winning playwright Bryony Lavery has adapted Alice Sebold’s novel and created a performance that beautiful and lets you know that it’s ok to let go.

The set (by Ana InΓ©s Jabares-Pita) is almost three dimensional, there is the stage, these reflective panels and gauze-like material that allows there to be a separate section behind those panels. As if both earth and heaven have a likeness to each other- there is a strong relationship.

In recent years, I have sadly lost friends and family so I know the turmoil that loved ones go through, an emotional roller coaster does not even do it justice. And to watch Susie’s family grieve in different ways brought back those raw emotions that I felt when I lost someone close to me. These moments were totally relatable.

I appreciated the physical performance styled into this performance, grieving can be a physical expression, some may curl up and hide away into a ball and some may want to be more open and active and express their emotions in a dynamic motion. I like how everything was so open and spacious for the audience to see.

There are scenes where the gestures are small and delicate but this is done in the form of puppetry, to tell the audience and Susie that she is not the only one. Other young girls have experienced what she has had to endure.

The Lovely Bones at Northern Stage was cathartic for me, I thought that I had dealt with my feelings but watching the performance allowed me to have a fresh perspective, a new breath of life ignited inside me. As if all that tension that I didn’t realise I had had all been let go.

What the show teaches you is that it’s important to move on and let both the dead and the living live. Remember all the positive memories of those you have lost but not to dwell on them. Remember that it’s ok to live your life.

The Lovely Bones is on still Saturday 20th October, for more information about the show click here

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