My Sister Is Missing, created as part of The King’s Head Theatre Pride Lab season, is a one-person mystery musical about Basil Plaint’s search for their missing sister.
Written, composed, and performed by Izzie Winter, the show tells the story of Basil’s missing sister and their foray into becoming an amateur detective to try and track her down. Basil’s family and the police don’t seem too concerned, and Basil’s sleuthing leads them to discover things about their sister that they hadn’t quite anticipated. Basil explains how their sister is the only person they feel close to, and a range of poignant songs detail what they believe to be a loving sibling bond.
Georgie Rankcom’s direction and Winter’s performance keep the show moving at a fast pace, and Winter’s bright, boundless energy as Basil keeps the audience engaged and endeared towards the character. The piece is very physical and William Spencer’s movement direction is fluid and natural, helping Winter to fill the space with their presence and energy without compromising on quality. Occasionally the intense movement led to some words being lost, especially as the audience is seated on three sides, and this was notable in the telephone song (a theatre trope I always enjoy), where some of the rapid, witty lyrics were missed.
The majority of the songs do not have much variation in style and often sounded quite similar, although they were sung very well by Winter, whose voice filled the space even without amplification. The songs (orchestrated by Winter and Gregory McCrorie-Shand) were pleasant to listen to but often didn’t build musically to the emotional peak that they could’ve achieved, especially considering the show’s topic. There were a number of songs where Basil experiences feelings of anxiety, grief, and betrayal towards their sister, but despite Winter’s strong acting, I didn’t feel totally moved by the music and lyrics. However, there are definitely some high points within the show – a song about feeling overstimulated in a crowded space is visceral and well-described, and another about missing a loved one is beautiful in its simplicity.
The technical elements of the show are executed brilliantly, with lighting and sound design that really complements the show within the small space. The set is simple yet effective, and props are incorporated into Winter’s movement throughout the space to great effect.
My Sister Is Missing wasn’t quite the emotional rollercoaster I was expecting, and lacked enough danger to juxtapose the light-hearted comedic moments. Despite this, the story remained interesting and engaging throughout, and the twist at the end was delightfully unexpected. With some work on the writing to raise the stakes of the situation, this has the potential to become a beautiful and powerful show.
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