Just An Ordinary Lawyer

The Leftovers

B2 Belgrade Theatre Coventry


The Leftovers had plenty to say about eulogising the dead where it may not be deserved, privacy, integrity, maturity and love but the star of the show never actually appeared.

Jodie has died, left her body to medical science and, after her memorial service, some friends decide to ask one of her musical heroes Hayley Rains, Reigns or Reins (Sarah White) to record a song for her.

Jim (Ben Welch) is the sound recordist tasked to organise in his Nottingham-based recording studio.

Latest friend Yaz (Philippa Hogg) and old school friend Angie (Wreh-Asha Walton) are (excellent) backing singers. Finally, Russ (Tim Murphy) aka Bongo Man arrives.

He claims to be an ex-boyfriend from 14 years before who travelled with Jodie to Australia and Fiji. His character is the most interesting, has the most meaningful contributions to make, and challenges intelligently all the assumptions around the entire project.

Angie, too, is disquieted by the invasion of Jodie’s privacy, and the project changes significantly in process as more and more is discovered in discussion between the characters as to Jodie’s REAL likes and dislikes, REAL loves and hates and her seemingly off-centre moral compass.

The music (mostly by Rob Green) is excellent with some songs standing out as really memorable, for example, Good Advice. I wasn’t so sure about final offering, Nothing but Paper.

Each character records their own words and then some of Jodie’s in each song as presented with a final song an edited version of the mix. There are excellent voices too that did the songs justice.

It all, obviously, takes time – and it is immensely long as a play, maybe another record attempt. I felt that, not only would it work well on the radio, to quote Willy Russell’s excellent Educating Rita, but that songs were shoehorned in to give it more popular appeal.

There was already plenty to chew over. On the day that new privacy laws come into force, it was apposite to mention that one character had hacked Jodie’s Facebook page and responded to her friends by proxy.

My neighbour slept peacefully throughout which doesn’t add to audience experience and the real drama often came out of whether Jim’s trousers would stay up long enough to complete the scene. Directed by Adam Lenson, the Leftovers sing on to 26-05-18

Jane Howard


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