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Review: ‘My Year with Lorraine’ is a delight

My Year with Lorraine is a new play by writer Tanya M. Wheeler, and based on a real story from her life. 

The eponymous character at the centre of the story is Lorraine (Elizabeth Tierney), an uneducated, put upon mother who lives with her bedridden husband.  Lorraine has been beaten back by life and the opinions of others. She lacks confidence, but has a dream to do better in life. 

Surprisingly, she is actually a high achiever. She runs the local school staff room and on the side bakes the most elaborate and beautiful wedding cakes. 

At school, she meets Kate (Verity Burgess), a relief teacher who is married to an overbearing and verbally abusive husband. She is more introverted than Lorraine, but the two soon become good friends. 

Kate offers to help Lorraine get a school certificate, and what unfolds is the blossoming of both women in the care and attention of one another’s company. This is particularly true of Lorraine – always effervescent, it is beautiful to watch her grapple with her demons, while also soaking up  as much culture as she can. Interestingly, she is clever, humorous and far wiser than she is willing to admit. 

Under Kate’s guidance, Lorraine studies the classic novel Wuthering Heights, and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The discussions about these works by both characters is brilliantly done and the insights Lorraine has about both pieces were spot on and very witty. The funniest scene of all concerned both women talking about (and eating) a ‘rude’ cake – the banter was hilarious. 

There is obvious chemistry on stage between Tierney and Burgess and they bounce off each other well, but on opening night there was a difference in performance energy, with Burgess perhaps a bit more subdued.

Tierney on the other hand clearly took to her role with gusto in a way that was a delight to watch. She obviously understood Lorraine and seemed to relish delivering a well rounded and deep performance. 

The issues raised in this production are very relatable. The script is clever, and with two talented actors, we get to see very a moving, funny and fascinating story of friendship.

MY YEAR WITH LORRAINE

22-26 March 2023

Tickets and information 

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