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Exactly Like You review at Underbelly, Edinburgh – ‘entertaining and moving’

Lotte Rice in Exactly Like You. Photo: Lauren Bevan Lotte Rice in Exactly Like You. Photo: Lauren Bevan
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A bright bubbly young woman has just realised that she doesn’t really know what she wants to do with her life. It’s not the end of the world – after all she has a job, a social life and nothing much to complain about – but is that it? And her carefully guarded personal world is no longer such a personal world as she finds herself waking up with a stranger asleep in her bed.

Penned and performed by Lotte Rice, it’s a poetic wake-up call in more ways than one as she starts to think back on her life – her grandmother’s words of wisdom, adapting to the daily grind of office life, enjoying a busy but ring-fenced private life. Now and then she finds herself singing or hearing snippets of Nina Simone – songs that were a source of inspiration as she grew up but whose empowerment she’s somehow lost along the way.

It’s a gentle, endearing image-filled journey, as entertaining as it is thoughtful, and it grips and moves you all the way thanks to Lotte Rice’s focused performance and the clever script structure. However, this crossover of poetry to solo play still needs work to get to where it and the performance deserve to be – and to allow director Kirsty Patrick Ward to show her chops. There are frequent distractions in by-numbers rhymes and arbitrary accents, and Exactly Like You needs to make up its mind whether it’s a plotted piece or an emotional tone feast.

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Entertaining and moving solo piece that needs a better blend of poetry and plot