“You just see them as made up people, I see them as versions of myself”.

Credit: Mark Senior

LIFT was written by Craig Adams and Ian Watson, and premiered at Soho Theatre in 2013. The cast included Julie Atherton, George Maguire and Cynthia Erivo. Now it’s back at the Southwark Playhouse for the summer.

LIFT is set in a lift in the Covent Garden tube station – yeah that station where everyone takes the lift because otherwise you have to climb a million stairs. The play is centred around a busker, played by Luke Friend. During the 54 second journey in the lift the busker imagines the stories of the people within the lift.

The others in the lift include; a lesbian French teacher (Kayleigh McKnight), a closeted ballet dancer (Cameron Collins), a dominatrix and dancer (Tamara Morgan) and a businessman (Marco Titus) among others.

Credit: Mark Senior

Firstly, I’m unsure if Jordan Broatch has even managed to sit down between Anyone Can Whistle closing and LIFT opening. Their outfit in LIFT looks like it could have come from the ACW wardrobe, so I was unsure if they’d had time to change between the shows! Broatch and Bhima play avatars within LIFT. They were the highlight of the show for me! Their movements remained robot-like throughout and their speech, well it sounded like Siri, to be honest. They were both exceptional and their voices are sublime. It’s such a shame we’ll not get to see Bhima as Cinderella, because I’m sure she would have shined so brightly in that role. Also can we mention how infectious Broatch’s smile is.

Kayleigh McKnight’s voice blew me away and deserves a special mention. Although the vocals of the entire cast were second to none. When they came together as an ensemble the show was at it’s best.

The staging is simple but very effective. With neon coloured light bars which show the different tube lines in the background.

Luke Friend was great as the busker, his voice worked incredibly well in this role and made the performance feel very authentic. You can fully imagine his voice and acoustic guitar sounds filling a tube station in London.

As soon as you enter the auditorium, Friend is sat on stage playing his guitar before the show begins. You’re transported and it made me excited for what was to come. But unfortunately this fire burned out.

Credit: Mark Senior

To cover 8 characters and their stories in 90 minutes is a challenge. And here it means that some characters storylines are covered in more depth than others. For example we see a lot of McKnight, Morgan and Collins’ characters but not so much of Titus’ and Elchikhe’s. Therefore the emotional responses were supposed to have to certain characters is more difficult to feel.

Because of this – some of the characters felt underdeveloped. There was so much more that could have been explored here. The storyline is confusing and hard to follow due to the competing stories and short run time.

McKnight singing Lost in Translations was an absolute highlight of the show, and one I expect most won’t forget. However a lot of the other musical numbers are quite forgettable.

What the show does very well is highlight that you have absolutely no idea what the people around you are going through. And that everyone has a story. My issues with LIFT are related to the book, but if it’s outstanding vocals you want, GO AND SEE IT! Because it has some of the best around!


Rating: 3 out of 5.

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