Thursday, December 8

Redcoat – Traverse Theatre

Lewis Jobson treats us to some extra sparkle, joy, and magic in this exuberantly light-hearted one-man show.  He celebrates his youthful adventures as a Redcoat in Bognor Regis, a world where you are never fully dressed without a smile, and a public altercation with Barney the dinosaur can earn you a verbal warning.

If you like singing and clapping along to unashamedly cheesy music, you will certainly love this show.  A group karaoke rendition of I Will Survive is a delightfully guilty pleasure, and there are plenty more of your favourite songs included.  This is a tale of a young adult living away from home for the first time, and Redcoat Lewis reminisces about his crush on The Slushy Guy, cooking pizza on a George Foreman grill, and cheerfully entertaining children at breakfast time while nursing a hangover.

Movement director, Alicia Meehan, makes great use of the space, and Jobson’s vivacious energy.  Jobson is constantly animated as he enthusiastically leaps, cartwheels and dances his way around the stage, inspiring the audience to laugh, clap, sing along and generally join in.  This is uplifting for audience and performer alike, but it must be exhausting to sustain this peppy persona throughout a gruelling 17-hour working day as a children’s entertainer.  Some of Redcoat Lewis’s colleagues burn out, leave, and just don’t come back.  There is such a thing as too much positivity.

The Six Twenty theatre company says that they love bringing people together for a good night out.  They have certainly succeeded with this piece.  The venue in Traverse 2, with seating on three sides of the stage, is ideally suited to shows like this which seek to involve the audience in the performance.

At times, the frantic pace of the job gets to Jobson, but he tells us that the hardest days were brightened by the smiles of happy children, and particularly his pal, Little Jess, who said he was her favourite redcoat.  I really hope that Jess has been to see this show, and that she enjoyed it as much as I did.

Reviewer: Wendy McEwan

Reviewed: 17th November 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★