Writer: Cillian O’Donnachadha
Director: Katherine Murphy
Reviewer: Laura Marriott
What happens to a woman who is suppressed and forced to change shape right from early childhood?
Left Hand Lost explores the life of American singer – songwriter and poet Dory Previn. Her story is remarkable. Previn was born into a strongly Catholic Irish American family and became strongly conflicted when trying to manage to multiple expectations placed on her by her family and local community. Her upbringing was often difficult and established inside her the demons that would go on to haunt much of her life.
Previn is played by Laura Kelly. She takes on the role with aplomb, embodying the idea of a tortured artist. Previn’s romantic relationships are touched upon, primarily in the way that they effect and encourage her writing ability. Her troubled relationship with her father is explored throughout Left Hand Lost as is the way his support of her singing and performing talent went on to shape her life. It is interesting that when her famous husband asks her for a divorce he requests that they keep their work relationship alive. This is something that she declines as she slowly begins to exert control over her own life. Throughout the production, one can see an artist trying to break free and take control of their own work. In the end, Previn went on to become an award-winning singer – songwriter in her own right. The play ends on a positive note, leaving the audience smiling.
Left Hand Lost is another one-woman show and Kelly does well at bringing Previn to life. When she sings the lights go dark, excepting one spotlight which follows her every move. Kelly’s speaking voice needs a little work in order to fully project to the back of the theatre.
The play is an enjoyable evening for those who have no prior knowledge or Previn, as indeed was the case for this reviewer, or for those more familiar with the story.
Biscuits for Breakfast Theatre Company have made an interesting and unusual choice in pinning these two one-handed plays together as a double bill; however, it is surprisingly successful and works as a great demonstration of new Irish writing.
Runs until 3 December 2016 | Image: Contributed