Yvonne Arnaud, Mill Studio – 4th November 2022
Reviewed by Jacqui Radford
In PurSUEt is a one woman show, written and performed by Eleanor Higgins. Perfectly written for the small stage and theatre, the production tells the true story of a woman with an obsession for Sue Perkins (who appears only in cardboard cut-out form).
We meet a woman who has been sent for therapy to deal with her drink problem and quickly learn that in fact she believes she does not have a drink problem, that her problems are rooted in social pressures and that if she had a relationship Sue Perkins, everything would be fine.
We all relate to the social pressures cited but fewer relate to obsession with celebrity. Audience members, as though they are the therapist, get to hear the musings of a woman whose drinking seems to be intricately connected to an obsession with Sue Perkins.
A series of scenarios recount stories of a woman who knows exactly where to find Sue and makes it her mission to be wherever Sue appears. Her drive to meet and form a relationship with Sue is depicted in almost caricature moments that that lead quicky to binge drinking and embarrassment, bringing us back to the realisation that the drinking is less about Sue and more about something that is missing. Thankfully, the ending of the story shows progress towards acceptance that drinking has contributed to feelings of despair and isolation and that there could be more to life (even without Sue).
This production is cleverly presented, drawing you in from the outset. You find yourself invested in the wellbeing of a woman who is searching for something more and are relieved to join her in discovering that in fact she does need help and more than a relationship with Sue Perkins.