The Life and Times of Lionel, Review

The Life and Times of Lionel

★★★★

Greenside, Nicolson Square (Venue 209)| Aug 6-­13| 19:40| £6.50-£8.50

The Life and Times of Lionel is an imaginative theatrical performance. The show transports you into the inner workings of Lionel’s mind as he attempts to navigate his mundane job day after day and social interactions with his office colleagues. Making great use of puppetry and physical theatre to explore on a cinematic scale Lionel’s imagination and internal monologue as he attempts to cope with his own anxieties.

The character of Lionel is portrayed well by Joshua Ling. Accurately conveying Lionel’s passive hapless nature, whilst also making you root for him and secretly hope that he will suddenly break out of his shell, stand up for himself and take control of his life. Especially during his interactions with Emily (Leanne Stenson) from the 5th floor, the one special person who can brighten up his day. The dynamic between Lionel and Emily is one the audience can relate to. Amalgamating aspects of social awkwardness and conversational blunders all to familiar in everyday life as the characters come so tangibly close to realising that they like each other whilst somehow still managing to miss the others intentions. This not only leaves the audience rooting for both characters to realise the others feelings but also provides several moments of great comic humour as the thoughts of Lionel’s brain are acted out on stage as he attempts to navigate these difficult social encounters.

More laugh out loud moments are provided though Lionel’s interaction with his co-workers. These larger than life colleagues are all characters that the audience can recognise and easily identify with, from the workplace bully to the nonsensical boss making unreasonable demands. Tom Claxton in his role as an over exuberant co-worker with a love for the office printer provides many moments of comic gold leaving the audience in stitches.

The ending slightly jars with the tone of the preceding narrative. However, it draws together seemingly unimportant events from the performance in a clever well written delivery. Leaving the audience feeling genuinely shocked and upset for Lionel as he finally makes his big decision.