Sugar Coat, which bills itself as “a new gig theatre show about love, loss and lubrication,” mixes narration, action scenes, and original songs to tell the story of its protagonist’s sexual journey through her teens and twenties. There is open, honest and graphic discussion of subjects that should be discussed more, but the show rightly opens with a trigger warning.
The all-female creative team includes four supporting performers, who play the songs live and take multiple roles - but it’s very much Dani Heron’s show. She dominates the stage as the unnamed protagonist, telling her story with tremendous amounts of raw emotion and huge enthusiasm in the songs.
The supporting cast of characters are very evoked well through the use of different accents and body language; it’s always clear which part each actor is playing at any one time. The trials and tribulations of the protagonist’s sexual journey are funny and tragic by turns, always relatable and boundlessly emotive.
There are refreshing reversals of gender stereotypes, a beautiful portrayal of a positive mother-daughter bond, and a well-drawn exploration of a polyamorous relationship. The show doesn’t shy away from the less amusing parts of the story, nor does it hide its protagonist’s prejudices and bad choices.
The singing isn’t always on key, but this is mitigated by the enthusiasm of the whole cast in the musical sections. But it’s a real shame, in a show that uses songs as part of the storytelling, that the sound mix doesn’t allow for the words to be distinct.
Overall, an interesting combination of parts that present an enjoyable and affecting whole.