Review: Vanessa Kirby plays an unravelling modern, rich bitch Julie, National Theatre
Playhouse Theatre transforming for Stephen Daldry's The Jungle + rehearsal photos

Review: Laura Linney in My Name is Lucy Barton, Bridge Theatre and when to applaud

Lucy's is a startling story full of humour, horror and sadness but told with subtlety where much is hinted at as well as laid bare.

my name is lucy barton poster laura linney
There was a lone attempt to applaud Laura Linney's stage entrance for her West End debut in My Name Is Lucy Barton indicating, perhaps, that there was at least one American in the audience.

Laura Linney may have an exceedingly impressive array of awards and nominations to her name but that isn't the way here in London, we want to see what an actor can do first before we show our appreciation.

She plays the Lucy of the title in a solo performance, set in hospital-room where a post-op illness is confounding doctors and prolonging her stay.

Reunion and recollection

Lucy's estranged mother appears at her bedside and the story flits between their conversation and recollections from her past.

She is a writer on the verge of success, living in New York with her husband and two children but was brought up by her impoverished parents in an isolated farming community in Illinois.

It was a tough childhood, a combination of living hand to mouth and her mother's necessity-driven, no-crying style of parenting.

Startling story

There is a loneliness to Lucy, a yearning, and she is aware of it. Her mother is proud and gossipy and Linney slips easily between the two in her portrayal.

Lucy's is a startling story full of humour, horror and sadness but told with subtlety where much is hinted at as well as laid bare.

bridge theatre my name is lucy bartonFundamentally it is a story of the invisible but potent bond between mother and daughter/parent and child. 

Regardless of the past, what was done and what wasn't, regardless of what is said in the hospital room and left unsaid, Linney portrays something powerful between the two.

A connection and perhaps even love that is there despite everything and one which stands out from the other players in her story whose relationships seem divided by feelings of betrayal.

Unwavering performance

Linney transports you unwavering through Lucy's life. She puts you in the room and you feel what is going on not just see it and hear it.

And for that, the rapturous applause and standing ovation were earned and deserved.

It's 90 minutes straight through and I'm giving it five stars. Catch it if you can at the Bridge Theatre until June 23.


You might also like: 

Julie, National Theatre - Vanessa Kirby plays an unravelling modern rich bitch.

Translations, National Theatre - Language, storytelling and leaving wanting more.

And outside the theatre sphere, Circolumbia at Underbelly - Dazzling, nerve-jangling and toe-tapping.