Ayers House Museum
Until 14 Mar 2020

Review by Kylie Pedler

Raw and brave: Lauren Lee Innis-Youren shares the journey of the ways in which chronic illness impacts a performer’s career. As her story unfolds, it is clear that she has fought great diversity to be here performing today. While chasing her dream of becoming a professional soprano, her world came crashing down. Diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, her body a warzone on the inside, she was forced to deal with an uncontrollable digestive system and attempted suicide, while medication side effects lead to losing her voice – the one thing that made her happy. This is a special story stressing the importance of self-care and overcoming the rollercoaster of illness.

While she merits her involvement in a metal band with her growth of self-confidence, it is not the strongest part of this production. Likewise, elements of comic timing filter through the dialogue but often break the flow of the story and technical elements of costume and shoe changes, juggling space, microphones and production staging require refinement. There were also issues with sound balance in the small intimate performance space.

But, as a singer, she is highly adept. Classically trained, Innis-Youren shows masterful control of her arias with a performance highlight being her rendition of Mozart’s difficult “Queen of the Night” from “The Magic Flute”; a number she originally learnt to exact revenge upon someone who said she couldn’t! Revisiting her role as Christine in “The Phantom of the Opera”, a moment that helped her find her way back to the stage, she gives an emotionally charged performance as her voice soars.

In her own words, this is a mix of hospitals, high notes, needles and hummus. A story that acknowledges the support of others and ‘Never Walk(ing) Alone’ in realising ‘I am not the disease’ and with a little stubbornness dreams can come true.

Rating: 3.5 stars (out of 5)