All The Little Lights

Esther-Grace Button, Tessie Orange-Turner & Sarah Hoare in ALL THE LITTLE LIGHTS by Jane Upton - credit Robert DayPhoto Credit: Robert Day

I didn’t know what to expect when I went to see this one hour play, but I didn’t expect it to be the best play I’ve seen this year.

Joanne and Amy are by a tent somewhere, they’ve set up a few small decorations and Lisa arrives, who meets Amy for the first time, but seems to have a long and fractious history with Joanne. The pressure, the tension between Joanne and Lisa builds up over the course of the hour; it has small eruptions throughout before reaching a more devastating finale.

The three members of the cast are wonderful; each performs her role perfectly with so many subtleties and nuances. Amy played by Esther-Grace Button is the comic relief in a way; she is younger than the others, almost innocent, a young person trying to act older to fit in with older friends. Sarah Hoare plays the hugely conflicted role of Lisa, watching her struggle with working out what to do, her memories and how she deals with Joanne and Amy is masterful, and her expression towards Amy made me want to take a step back at points! Tessie Orange-Turner as Joanne gave the real tour-de-force performance though. Across the 60 minutes, Orange-Turner strips Joanne back piece by piece; every look, every emphasis and action reflect the very complicated and troubled character. That Orange-Turner is able to present and portray so much variation in her character in just 60 minutes is just incredible and a testament to her ability, as well as the phenomenal script by Jane Upton and Laura Ford’s direction.

All The Little Lights is at points funny, at points dark and horrific, but always gripping, the tension keeps winding up and up with an ending that will stay with you, and rightly so, I wish everybody could go and watch this, it’s the most important play I’ve seen this year.

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