Sunday 15 September 2019

Side A - Theatre Review

What: Side A
When: 15 - 29 September 2019
Where: Toy Library, Trades Hall
Written and performed by: Amanda Santuccione
Amanda Santuccione
I first came across Santuccione two years ago in her debut solo show Twenty Minutes To Nine. Since then she has gone on to hone her performance skills and this year she brings another surprisingly personal and powerful story to the audiences at Trades Hall in Side A.

The power in Santuccione's work is the well spring of authenticity and lived experience with which she gifts the audience in every performance. It also lies in her ability to not shy away from the pain, but to sit in it long enough for us to feel it and then move us forward to the strength and wisdom which comes from getting to the other side.

Side A is perhaps a lighter piece overall, with the first half being almost a stand up comedy routine. This show, though, is built in 2 acts and whilst the first half has tiny hints of what is to come the power of the second act comes as a complete surprise.

Side A begins with a wander down memory lane. Feeding into our current retro obsession Santuccione takes us back to the days when mix tapes were real acts of love. A time when making one meant hours listening to the radio for the precise moment the song you wanted was played. A time when all you needed was some sticky tape to overwrite any cassette. A time when DJ's where judged on how rarely they talked over the music. Those were the days...

For Santuccione this was also a time of growth into adulthood and sexuality. She lets us laugh our way through her crazy experiences of a first date, a first kiss, a first walkman, a first sexual assault...

Santuccione was a precocious child as her Sunday School teacher can attest to and in act 2 things get more serious as she explores family and peer expectations for a single, straight female. We take teenage sexuality so for granted now but do girls really all want to get fingered at the age of 13, or lose their virginity by 16? Some do, some don't, but shouldn't it be up to us rather than our community?

In act 2 Santuccione soars as a spoken word beat poet and the power and glory of her pieces 'I See You' and 'Friend' will tear you apart. People say words have power. Santuccione's words most certainly do.

Side A is a surprising show. It is hilarious and soul searing all in the same experience. Spend an evening at Trades Hall and kick the night off with this wonderful work of art.

3.5 Stars

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