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Published 5 February 2013

If you often find yourself wondering what is going on in the minds of strangers, Soho theatre’s LIFT is the show for you.

Craig Adams and Ian Watson’s enquiring new musical takes an intimate look into the lives of eight people sardined together in a lift in Covent Garden underground station, revealing the thoughts and desires behind their London transport-appropriate neutral, quiet faces.

From the outside these people may look very different; one is wearing a suit, the other jeans, one a modest dress, the other cut off shorts, but when each is given the chance to reveal the inner workings of their brain, similarities begin to show.

No matter whether their story takes place in a sauna, a strip club or a French class, each tale is about feeling lost, the art of desperately clinging onto relationships and how talking to strangers can sometimes be easier than facing the ones you love.

Adams’ pop score is emotive and catchy as one by one the characters lead us through each of their journeys, moving from the claustrophobic confines of the lift to the front of the stage to sing us their tale. Whether it be one of scoring drugs to get you through a lap-dancing shift, losing your girlfriend to the romance of Paris or forgetting yourself in the safe anonymity of online chat rooms, each is matched in heartbreak.

Staged on a minimalist set, the company carries the story with little more than their voices. Jonny Fines leads the way as the cheeky Ballet Dancer, Julie Atherton becomes the fragile French Teacher and Nikki Davis-Jones shines as the shy Secretary of the piece.

LIFT is a lesson in all things that go unsaid, opportunities not taken and those split second assumptions we make about faces we might pass everyday on our way to work but never even smile at. But what happens when the lift door finally opens? You’ll have to head to the Soho to find out.


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