BANTER JAR: Lion and Unicorn Theatre, Thursday 12th May, 2022.

Hannah Baker spent her lockdown years crafting a one-woman show about growing up in Coventry. Now we can come outside again, she is performing it in a variety of venues, and this week it’s at the Lion and Unicorn Theatre in Kentish Town (till Saturday 14th April). And it is really good.

She tells the story of a girl, coincidentally called Hannah, who finds that everyone she loves or cares for is suffering, and sad, and sometimes desperate and self-destructive. She introduces us to a bevy of her friends, lovers, relations, makes them vivid, makes them matter, and does it by being very funny. She is lively, whizzing around the stage like a Roomba on uppers. She pulls funny faces. She plays songs on her guitar. She engages in intimacies with people who aren’t actually there but she makes you believe they are. And the stories she tells are true and poignant and sad, but they’re funny as well. That’s a tough trick to pull off and Hannah manages it with grace and enormous charm.

She uses the space well, deploying a blond-wood chair, a mattress, and some exemplary sound and light cues to create a whole city, with buses and cafes and clubs and bedrooms, parks and allotments, all the wonders of an ex-industrial East Midlands city.

The stories are touching. And relevant. And thoughtful. And funny. The direction by Chris Larner is unflashy and effective, the light and sound tech is very classy though I don’t know who to credit, but well done light and sound techs. Banter Jar is on at the Lion and Unicorn Theatre for two more nights. It’s excellent. Go.



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