About Leo, Jermyn Street Theatre

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by Lara Alier

As I was walking to the theatre, down the St. James Street with my H&M boots, I was overwhelmed by a deep feeling of inadequacy. I was surrounded by tailoring shops, light brown leather shoes and the financial times. It was quite uncomfortable. When I finally made it, it felt better than entering a falafel shop after a night out. The intimate atmosphere of this welcoming theatre was the perfect place to slow-cook a good play.

The piece follows Leonora, a young, intelligent women, whose lust for life leads her to Paris where she begins a relationship with Max Earnst. Leo is a true enigma to Max, later referred to as a child-women, who explores herself and the world through art. Slightly painting the play with brushstrokes of surrealism, symbols such as the horse keep reappearing as leitmotifs, guiding the audience on a deeper journey.

In the present, Leo (Susan Tracey) now lives in Mexico and receives a visit from Eliza (Eleonora Wyld), a young writer who is slowly dousing her own passions. As Leo unfolds her memories, we see scenes of her past played by Phoebe Pricey and Nigel Whitley. They are two curious, free people, loving each other with the certainty that their voices and art are worth to be heard.

In a world where programs such as ‘Love Island’ are on prime TV and cuts to the arts are the norm, this story is a fresh gust of wind. The delicate direction of Michael Oakley and the connection between the actors make this play stand-out. Let’s make art without apologies, and support each other on the way.

About Leo runs through 29 September.

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