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One Kiss

B2 Belgrade Theatre Coventry


This new one-woman show, written and performed by Coventry kid Lara J. West provides a rich and valuable view of an ordinary woman’s life.

One Kiss, is the young kiss that Maud and Harrold share in the Liverpool Locarno Ballroom way back in 1949 that starts the story. Three women and the relationships that bind them provide the meat of the performance.

The first is Maud, the mother of Georgia, the third of three daughters, who is the central character, and the love of Georgia’s life, Shirley. The set supports the three stories as they intertwine and lead us through the trials, tribulations and the treats and treasures of womanhood.

A further central ‘character’ is an old library book What it means to be a woman that passes between the three woman and hides many secrets and messages with notes, underlinings, and letters concealed in its pages.

Lara J. West has a fine and versatile mezzo-soprano voice and her original songs punctuate the show to great effect, supported by two fine multi-instrumentalist musicians, Piera Onacko and Alicia Gardener-Trejo. The songs propel the story nicely. I particularly enjoyed Shirley’s hilarious New York nightclub set.

Georgia and Shirley share a young kiss too that changes their lives but Maud intervenes at just the wrong time, though lives to regret her actions, just as Shirley sets off for a new, and it seems very interesting life, in America. I found the piece so engrossing that I hoped Shirley and Georgia might reunite but who knows? This possibility is left hanging in the air.

If I have a criticism, I found it hard to hear the recorded vox pop type interjections from women recorded to provide other voices for the show. Then, on top of that, the final selection was completely drowned out by the rattly door of B2 being opened too early. That was a shame since those views might have provided more background to the piece and its process of writing.

There are difficult themes covered, and I wondered how men in the audience might react. For myself, I found it really moving and a complete exploration of womanhood that resonated with me totally even if it reminded me of incidents I’ve tried hard to forget! But I enjoyed it and I’m glad I was there. To 09-07-22.

Jane Howard


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