Review: The Lovely Bones
This powerful play, based on Alice Sebold’s best-selling novel, is on until Saturday at the Cambridge Arts Theatre.
The Lovely Bones - which was also made into a 2009 film starring Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz - is a unique coming-of-age tale that captured the hearts of readers throughout the world when it was first published in 2002.
This acclaimed version, adapted by Bryony Lavery and directed by Melly Still, is an unforgettable play about life after loss.
Boasting a cast of 13 versatile and talented actors, visually striking staging, spot-on 1970s-esque costumes and plenty of catchy tunes and startling sound effects, this very creative production is a theatrical roller coaster ride from start to finish.
Beginning suddenly and unexpectedly, the play immediately demands the audience's attention and its opening scenes are truly chilling, with Nicholas Kahn frighteningly convincing as a local man possessed by evil.
The number of characters many of the actors play is impressive and the audio and visual effects really add to the tension, which is occasionally broken by light-hearted moments, particularly the scene where The Carpenters' classic Top of the World is played.
The lead character, Susie Salmon, is wonderfully played by Charlotte Beaumont, who perfectly captures the teenager's innocence.
The drama barely lets up over the two halves with flashes of light, fright-inducing sounds and a large background mirror adding to the tense scenes, which make it impossible to take your eyes off what's happening, even though it doesn't always make for easy viewing.
The way that the characters are shown to be moving on with their lives as Susie remains 'in limbo' is handled well, and Leigh Lothian's performance as Ruth - she also plays Susie's younger brother, Buckley - is definitely worth a mention.
This is an excellent piece of theatre - fully deserving of the praise it's received - but it's certainly not for the faint-hearted!
The Lovely Bones is on at the Cambridge Arts Theatre until Saturday (November 9).
The play starts at 7.45pm with matinee performances at 2.30pm tomorrow (Thursday) and Saturday.
Tickets: £20 - £40
Box office: 01223 503333, or cambridgeartstheatre.com.
More by this authorAdrian Peel