Bloody Elle - Edinburgh Fringe 2023
“Bloody Elle” is gig theatre at its best presented at Traverse Theatre. Written, composed, and performed by Lauryn Redding, in words and music she shares Elle’s story – working at Chips and Dips during days, and playing music in pubs at night. This is a meticulously crafted solo performance with music. Lauryn Redding’s is a magnificent performance that literally invites everyone in the theatre to embrace this intimate and sensitive story. I just didn’t want the 90 minutes to end. Directed with and eye and ear for pacing by Bryony Shanahan, the production is no-nonsense in its setting so the action can move fluidly across raised, speckly platforms of designer Amanda Stoodley’s set.
It's a in a coming-of-age tale wrapped up in an odd couple/chalk-and-cheese love story. Elle is fiercely working class. Eve is a posh girl and on a break before heading to Oxford and med school. She took the Chips and Dips job to piss-off her father. Redding captures each character in Elle’s work and home life with such detail and ease. She has us rolling in the aisles many times, swaying to her tunes and just in awe of what is unfolding. But of course, there is no sweet without the sour.
The attraction between Elle and Eve blooms and before they know it, they have embarked on a summer of secret love. Infatuation, joy, fear, and the sheer thrill of first love are captured. This is an ode to first love, first queer love, and its terrifying consequences. Our tears flow as we witness the choices these two young people have ahead of them.
What sets this piece apart is that the songs themselves are superb, marrying lyricism with both narrative and raw emotion. They are a window to Elle’s inner self, bursting out of her, allowing her to express the emotions and feelings that she barely understands. The power of the live performance, looping riffs, and vocals with pedals to build the soundscape, adds extra depth.
Redding tells us this is an autobiographical tale, and we know how things have worked out for her. And Eve? Queue for a ticket to this one! This is fierce lesbian pride onstage and a story for everyone.