Tuesday, June 18

Lady Dealer – Bush Theatre

Business is booming. Bass is thumping. Charly’s heart is beating a little too fast, the world is spinning a little too quickly, and someone might be getting sick on the carpet any second now.

In this production of Lady Dealer by Martha Watson Allpress, the explosive Alexa Davies plays Charly, the “Lady Dealer” breaking the greenhouse ceiling on feminist drug dealing. A whip smart and poetically eloquent but socially stunted and economically frustrated young woman cusping millennial and gen z identities, Charly is a dynamo in bed rot. Jasmine Araujo’s costume design is convincingly sloppy and effectively evocative of an era of isolation all too familiar to us all.

The “Lady Dealer” is not a covid avoidant recluse, but her lifestyle will be comprehensible to anyone who at one point was. Despite the air of personal disinvestment that Charly cultivates, under Bethany Gupwell’s sublime lighting design Davies shines. Emily Aboud’s direction is dynamic and well matched to Davies’ frenetic performance style. The environment she plays in is co-curated by Araujo’s formidable set built out of speakers, plugs, and extension cords and the complimentary sound design by Anna Short that pumps things along. The collaboration is compelling, and Davies’ performance is effortful, efficacious, and endearing. She wins over audiences in the first ten minutes of playtime but then is left alone with another hour of script to see through and nowhere to take her agoraphobic character or the captive audience.

The writing is poetical, and Davies performs it with real conviction but that is not enough to bring the play home. Instead of properly intoxicating its audience this production leaves its viewers frustratingly half baked.

Playing until 15th June, Lady Dealer | Bush Theatre

Reviewer: Kira Daniels

Reviewed: 22nd May 2024

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.
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