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Let Loose Sid | Baron's Court Theatre

Let Loose Sid, which is written and directed by Calum McArthur, is an exploration into male suicide, domestic violence, abuse, trauma and depression. 21-Year old Sidney (Louis Walwyn) recounts his abusive childhood experiences, subsequent effects on both his parents, sleeping rough and trying to create a better future for himself. The play primarily focuses on the long term effects the toxic childhood has on Sidney, but also on the psychology terminology of lucid dreaming. The play swerves between the two, using Sidney's mother to form a connection between the two. By doing so, writer McArthur ensures that the play examines cause and effect in a touching and horrific way.

The story, however, is a little confusing at times, with no clear sense of timeline. Random, albeit interesting, memories are brought into play, furthering the confusion. Whilst there is a clear overall plot line, the specifics in narrative are lost in choosing to prioritise topic over character. 

Walwyn, as the sole performer, is incredible in the role of Sidney. Fluid and flexible, he's able to switch from a charming conversationalist to terrified child, to protective mother or angry father. Performing a four character scene alone in the span of a minute with a very clear sense of each character is an impressive feat, but Walwyn makes it seem effortless. His performance is captivating, even when the subject matter is hard to watch and leaves the audience deeply moved. Walwyn is a rather expressive performer, and combined with his frantic dashes across the stage as he experiences a whirlwind of emotion (Tessa Guerrero), delivers a hard-hitting performance.

With audiences surrounding the stage on three sides, Sidney's sense of being overwhelmed feels more authentic. The stage is mostly bare, with only a table to the side with a number of action figures of various super heroes. The lighting and sound design are impressive, especially given the small theatre. With cold blue and radiant oranges, to the sharp whites, accompanied by the sounds of Sid struggling with nightmares, and an unfamiliar sound scape playing in, the play ensures that the audience feel immersed as well. 

McArthur and Walwyn have combined forces to let the words evoke emotions in the audience. Using a number of beautiful metaphors (superheroes rising from sorrow, climbing a rope, sense of practised resilience), the show captures the highs and lows of trying not to drown in a depressing word. The importance placed on the small things is well done, and the twist with a small side character absolutely solidifies the message of this play. 

Let Loose Sid is a strong and moving show, with a brilliant performance from Walwyn and thoughtful writing from McArthur. It is currently playing at the Baron's Court Theatre until 8th June - for more information and tickets, you can follow the link here.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4*)

Gifted tickets in return for an honest review | photography provided by Baron's Court Theatre


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