Electrolyte (4 stars)

This article is from 2018


Joey Dawson

Gig theatre tale of friends, loss and mental health struggles

Wildcard Theatre's dazzling, fast-paced production Electrolyte tells the story of Jess (Olivia Sweeney), a young, party-loving dreamer. Set in Leeds, this is a tale of friends, loss and mental health struggles. Gig theatre, a fairly new theatrical trend, mashes up live music and storytelling, and if you're sceptical of the genre, Electrolyte will do a lot to assuage any concerns. The concept refreshes musical theatre, allowing for the huge energy and excitement that live (and, in this case, contemporary electronic) music provides.

Narrated throughout by an extended spoken-word script from the play's protagonist, the audience are given a privileged insight into the thoughts and perspectives of Jess. Other impressive elements include the voice and musical performance of Maimuna Memon as singer-songwriter Allie Touch, and the spot-on breaking of the fourth wall, often to comic effect.

Without any set, apart from the musical instruments on stage, the total transportation of the audience from nightclub to dawn streets and all points between says a great deal about the committed performance of the cast and the effectiveness of James Meteyard's writing.

The final scenes could do with a little editing, as despite a moving and emotive climax, the piece drifts slightly into preachy and clichéd territory.

However, this innovative piece of theatre brought many in the audience to tears and enjoyed an utterly deserved standing ovation.

Pleasance Dome, until 27 Aug, 5.30pm, £10–£12 (£8–£10).


  • 4 stars

Gig theatre exploring mental health for a contemporary audience, which follows a young girl who meets an ambitious singer-songwriter.