Love, Lola is a production still in development. There is the essence of a good story and the encouraging possibility of more in store for cast and creatives at some stage in the future.

Love LolaI just want to be an actress.

Love, Lola is a new play written and directed by Francessca Charlemagne and this is her first full length play to be produced. Love, Lola is currently playing at Theatre Utopia in Matthews Yard, Croydon.

There is a kernel of a good story in Love, Lola. Given the current number of celebrity tales of sexual exploitation in theatre and politics it has contemporary relevance. There is enough of a twist in the tale to make it interesting, and good potential for a night of theatre.

Basically the narrative revolves around student actress, Lola. She struggles with finances and when the opportunity arises to be the sugar baby of a lady MP she accepts the offer. Lola’s life becomes easier and more exciting until a romance with a boy at drama school muddies the picture.

Then, Lola has to choose between the boy and the MP, so exit the boy. Lola abandons drama school thinking that her sugar mummy will fix her career but that arrangement is shattered and exit the MP. Lola is left alone without much hope of ever being the actress she desired.

It’s a great story line. However the script needs the help of a good dramaturge to trim redundant scenes from this overlong play. The performance lasted for two hours and fifty minutes with a short interval.

On the night this play was seen there were some technical issues and lighting was erratic. There were many times when players were in darkness and some miss-cued music. It’s to be hoped that these problems can be easily fixed. In any case, with a play of numerous short scenes like this, a constant fading up and down of lights between scenes becomes irritating.

Most of the cast are still learning their trade. The strongest of these were Lauren Leppard as Lola. This is a huge role and Leppard told the story well. Joanna, the sugar mummy, was played by Rebecca Lewis who defines the light and shade in her character well. Alan Hall plays the love interest, Sebastian. He has moments of being fabulous and credible.

This is a production clearly still in development. From the script to the stage there is work yet to be done.  It would not be appropriate to give this present production a rating but it is appropriate to salute their effort and encourage the further work which will yield rewards.


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Viola Patrick
Viola has been obsessed with all things theatre since she was young and first encountered the Les Miserables soundtrack. Totally hooked, Viola later studied Theatre at Reading University, where she was able to perform on stage, as well as writing and directing her own material. She has written theatre reviews for newspapers and magazines and is looking forward to joining the exciting world of and online reviewing.