It’s been a while since I’ve visited the Playhouse and I was surprised to discover this production was actually taking place in the room above the Playhouse Bar and Kitchen and was just an hour long (no interval) – after watching I can confirm this was absolutely the perfect location. 
All The Little Lights is a play by Jane Upton focusing on three young girls, their friendships, family and fight to survive as they live under the radar. Set on high, dusk falls close to the railway tracks as the house lights flicker on below…

As we took our seats, Amy (12) played by Esther-Grace Button was busy putting up a tent and attempting to make the clearing in the woods a little more like a Birthday picnic whilst Joanne (16) played by Tessie Orange-Turner was listening to music on her phone and every now and then caught your eye and stared at you. As the sound of an approaching train grew louder the lights went out and the play began.

It’s Lisa’s (Sarah Hoare) 15th Birthday and her old friend Joanne has organised a sleepover with the help of her new friend Amy. As the play unfolds we learn about each young girl’s life and how they have become connected and disconnected.

I laughed out loud at Amy’s E.T. impression; felt relieved that Lisa has a new family, felt rage at Joanne’s bullying and wanted desperately to intervene. I felt scared for what was in store for Amy and wanted to rush in and protect her. Despite never meeting him I wanted to see justice served on TJ and his mates. Most of all I felt sorry for Joanne. I wanted her to be a teenager and to see her laugh and feel kindness. It made me think of bully’s I’ve known and wonder what struggles they might have been going through in their young days to make them act the way they did.
This short play really packs a punch and had me feeling all kinds of emotions – thought provoking and powerful, excellently written and delivered. Not giving the men involved a voice gave this so much more depth and impact.
Seats were unreserved so my friend and I opted for the front row:

pros – we felt like we were camping with them

cons – avoid the front row if you are easily intimated as you might feel uncomfortable

Warning – does contain strong language

Photo Credit Robert Day

All The Little Lights, Nottingham Playhouse until 11th February