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Lose Yourself review at Sherman Theatre, Cardiff – ‘gripping exploration of celebrity’

Gabrielle Creevy and Aaron Anthony in Lose Yourself at Sherman Theatre, Cardiff. Photo: Mark Douet

Katherine Chandler’s play is, for the most part, a gripping three-hander. Three people’s lives hurtle towards the sweet release of a booze-filled night out. Only it’s a night out that will have life-changing repercussions for all.

Chandler and director Patricia Logue ramp up the tension, a foreboding sense of menace hanging over what is, at times, an enjoyable watch.

Josh (Tim Preston) seemingly has the most to lose as a young professional footballer with an injury that threatens his career before it’s really started. He’s a working-class lad who knows he has no plan B.

Aaron Anthony plays lecherous star striker Nate with the chilling confidence of a man who’s never been told no – he’s utterly confounded when a young mum confronts him for stroking her bum in a cafe. But it’s Yaz (Gabrielle Creevy) we’re drawn to most, recently turned down for a job on a beauty counter, despite her level-2 NVQ certificate. The excellent Creevy, in her first professional stage role, imbues her with a sensitivity that betrays her tough-girl exterior, her expletive-filled monologues lurching from the lascivious to the lyrical.

For all the fizzing one-liners, Lose Yourself’s earthy humour is inevitably consumed by darker forces, with Nate’s actions – a relic of the pre-#MeToo age – leading all three characters into an abyss (and yet, one feels, Nate will be the only one to climb out). It’s a nuanced, moving play that draws on recent real-life cases but offers an insight without the tabloid hyperbole.

Playwright Katherine Chandler: ‘Welsh work can be brutal – but it reflects what’s happening here’

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Verdict
Tense and gripping exploration of aspiration, opportunity and celebrity
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