Teddy Lamb takes to the stage and begins to tell the audience about their experiences of growing up emo and queer. They are joined on stage by a musician and the audience is presented with an autobiographical story that feels poignant and current. Since U Been Gone is an intimate love letter to someone who is no longer here. It is a story of longing, loss, memory and friendship and is told with passion and resilience.
During the show we are taken back to the performers time in high school, theatre school and then their more recent adult life. Through evocative storytelling we hear of sexual encounters, moments of friendship and the disappointment of missing Pride in London in order to attend a Taylor Swift concert. We also hear bad poetry, anecdotes and experience tender moments of clarity. The music is subtle and provides a backing track to the performance. The musician makes use of beats, rhythms and an electric guitar to back up the spoken word elements of the show and sets the tone and pace of the performance. We also get instrumental renditions of Britney Spears and Taylor Swift songs and this works incredibly well in setting the scene.
Intentional bad poetry aside, the words within Since U Been Gone are what make it feel special and intriguing. It is a personal story that shows the need to be comfortable in one’s own skin. The show also expresses the need for people to find like minded friends who will look out for you and make you feel welcome. Before the show concludes we are given a reminder that things are still not straight forward for the trans and non-binary community. We are told of the transphobia and homophobia that Lamb still regularly encounters and there is also a telling reminder that this violence is more extreme and frequent for trans people of colour. This point keeps the show grounded. Despite going on a personal journey through identity and friendship, for many people there is still a long way to go.