How My Light is Spent, Greenside @ Nicolson Square, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show info
Aaron Kilercioglu
Alan Harris (writer), Aaron Kilercioglu (director), Issy Snape (assistant director), Olivia Elise Kumar (producer), Susi Mauer (sound/lighting designer), Joy Hunter (associate director).
Anna Wright (Kitty), Harry Redding (Jimmy).
Running time

Jimmy makes a panicked phone call – “Kitty, my hands have disappeared”. Despite studying psychology, it’s not really a conversation she is prepared for – “I’m not really qualified; I’m a phone sex worker.”

When did Jimmy start to disappear? Perhaps when he lost his job, his wife and daughter and, possibly, hope. Still living with his Mum, at the age of 34 his aspirations seem to have vanished.

But let’s start with masturbation. Jimmy makes calls to Kitty every Wednesday at 7.45 while his mum is at the Salvation Army. The format is also regular and Kitty makes the answers he wants to hear, despite wearing sensible underwear and definitely not having a “lady boner”.

Jimmy normally “finishes” in 3 minutes, leaving time to chat in the remaining minimum call period. They talk about Jimmy’s job at the Newport ‘Nuts – the town’s only drive-through doughnut outlet. Over the course of months, he falls in love with Kitty and, drawing attention to herself in an act of altruism at the drive-through, they finally meet.

They have much to sort out; Jimmy’s long-term plans and fixing his relationship with his estranged daughter and her choices in funding her psychology degree. Perhaps there is a brighter future out there but if, like a candle, they only have a certain amount of light to give, will they just vanish? Jimmy does just that, like the Invisible Man from the movie which he watches, he is gradually fading away. And when she too disappears Jimmy needs a plan to prevent them both from slipping through the cracks.

The story, with its mix of narration and dialogue, is told with warmth and wit, the two performers shifting easily to play a number of characters. The simple staging also works well, but there are some odd lighting choices.

While the play was awarded the 2015 Bruntwood Prize, it is not without faults. Even trying (and not quiet managing) to fit it into an hour, it feels slightly too long. Some elements don’t shed much light on the characters, it never really deals with their darker real-world problems and the conclusion falls short of imparting the required sense of wonder.

An offbeat, often amusing piece and time well spent even if it doesn’t exactly shine.

Show Times: 3rd to 18th (not 12th) August 2018 at 7.45pm.

Tickets: £10 (£7), Family £28.

Suitability: 12+.