With a Little Bit of Luck review at the Old Market, Brighton – ‘lyrical and joyous’

With a Little Bit of Luck at Old Market, Brighton. With a Little Bit of Luck at Old Market, Brighton.
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Sabrina Mahfouz’s lyrical tribute to the cultural beat of the UK garage club scene – set in the summer of 2001 – is warm, generous and joyous.

After opening at Latitude Festival last year, Paines Plough associate director Stef O’Driscoll’s production of With a Little Bit of Luck – which mixes up raked seating and tables in front of the stage – is stopping briefly at the Brighton Fringe at the tail-end of its 2016 tour.

From ‘Gotta Get Thru This’ to ‘Closer than Close’, Mahfouz captures a mood and an era. Martyna Baker’s Singer belts out garage classics on a smoky stage, patterned by Prema Mehta’s hazy lighting. This is a fist-bump collision of gig and theatre.

There’s the adrenalin hit of a vividly remembered moment in Mahfouz’s gorgeous spoken-word poetry, as Nadia (Seroca Davis) recalls her summer before starting university. The music is the language of her memories, her soundtrack to boy troubles and selling pills.

And no one dies, no one’s dreams are dashed and no one’s lives are ruined. Mahfouz resists the clichés, morality dressed up as hard-hitting drama, to give us something else – the casual roll of life, stumbles and all. It’s there in the whooping of the audience.

Generous, joyous and lyrical tribute to the UK garage scene