Luce**** (Southwark Playhouse)

Posted: March 15, 2016 in Theatre


With Edward Snowden still in enforced exile, arguments rage on about the point at which the right to privacy clashes with the need for security. TC Lee’s tightly written and compelling play makes an enlightening contribution to these debates. When a teacher becomes suspicious of a brilliant 17-year-old high school student, she invades his privacy by opening his locker and then notifying his adopted parents of the surprising contents. 10 years earlier the student, Luce (meaning light), had been an orphan caught up in an African war, rescued and brought to America by Peter and Amy, who refuse to believe ill of him. However, Luce now reflects that the sound of his name could be taken to mean “not attached to anything else”. Is he merely an innocent attracting the teacher’s suspicions because he is an outsider, or is he a liar with malevolent intent? It is a big ask of Martins Imhangbe as Luce to keep both possibilities credible for most of the play, making us root for him and doubt him at the same time. He pulls it off admirably and Natasha Gordon also makes the teacher an enigmatic character; sharp and full of self-importance, we want her to be proved a bigot, but fear that she could be right. Mel Giedroyc is a minor revelation as Amy, her natural warmth being perfect for this loyal Mum, but she adds the steel of a fighter and her convincing American accent is the icing on the cake (sorry!). Simon Dormandy’s spare production remains intensely focussed throughout and, even if the play offers few answers to the moral questions that it poses, its 90 minutes give plentiful food for thought.

Performance date: 15 March 2016

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.