Review: Lifeboat @ West Yorkshire Playhouse


By Nicola McCartney

Billed as 'The extraordinary world war 2 drama, based on a true story', I entered the theatre with some preconceptions on what to expect from a theatre production focused on 2 15-year-old girls who spent 19 "terrifying" hours in the water on an upturned lifeboat, willing each other to survive. My expectation of an hour potentially struggling to keep my eyes open and interest perked couldn't have been further from my experience.

The show is based in their Barber Studio, which for anyone that hasn't been to a show in there is pretty much a large open space which can have a varied performance space layout, in this case the play is performed down a central strip (not dissimilar to a runway) with carpets either side where members of the audience are encouraged to use as a seating area.. but with regular stacked seating behind this for the less adventurous.

Being one of those less adventurous types I opted for the comfortable seating, although the carpeted area soon became full of young kids (the show is advised at 8+).

Both girls performed outstandingly as they represented the parts of various family members and other characters that they interacted with throughout the show,  changing their facial expressions and voice without fault.

They interacted with the kids in the audience on the carpeted areas, bringing them (verbally) into the show when talking about other young people as part of the show - and the kids in the audience loved it! But don't take it that the story was 'dumbed down' at all for the younger audience, there were loud bangs, darkness and tales of bombing and death, but all delivered perfectly within the performance to portray the experiences without the horror.

There was definitely a two-tiered tale being performed which made it so suitable for children, whilst also being thoroughly enjoyable for adults too. I absolutely loved it & wouldn't hesitate to recommend grabbing tickets to see the show while you still can!

Lifeboat is showing at the West Yorkshire Playhouse until the 13th May 2017.

Further information & tickets: