Gary Wilmot thriller enjoys successful premiere in Bognor Regis

Gary Wilmot
Gary Wilmot

Sweet Lorraine, The Alexandra Theatre, Bognor - review by Vicky Edwards

New writing is the lifeblood of theatre, so for a small seaside venue like the Regis Centre to be exploring new work is exciting in itself. To beef that up by kicking off with a play by one of the nation’s most popular performers is quite some coup; even if it is difficult reconcile cheeky chappie Gary Wilmot with such a dark and tense piece.

But all credit to Wilmot, who is also at the directorial helm. Sweet Lorraine is a triumph. Furthermore, it deserves a wider audience.

A compelling tale of a talented young musician with a secret, the writing is elegant, authentic and intelligent. The plot, part thriller and part grim cautionary tale, is rooted in an astute study of human nature and poses a disturbing question: just how far would you go to wright a terrible wrong that had been done to someone you love and whose life had been subsequently blighted?

Beautifully paced, the story plays out to a shocking conclusion. Gripping the attention, never for a moment allowing it to wander, evocative music and Iain Jordan’s moody lighting are key components in creating atmospheric edge-of-the-seat unease.

Aided by excellent performances from Harry Burton as Harry Burns and Martha Dancy as the eponymous Lorraine, great support is provided by Ben Fox as Phil and Katy Osborne as Emma.

Gary Wilmot has been hiding his scripting light under the proverbial bushel for too long. Here’s hoping that he continues to write and that Sweet Lorraine will play on elsewhere.

As for the Regis Centre and its Alexandra Theatre; may this gem of a seaside venue continue to champion new work.

Review by Vicky Edwards