Sally Lives Here

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I’ve seen some comments on the ‘Net saying it’s fitting that Sally Lives Here should be at the Cultch, because it’s an East Side story. That may be true, but despite a slow start, this is a touching show that everyone should see. It’s a people story.

Lynne Goldhat Smith both wrote and starred in this one-woman show, where she bares Sally’s sweet stories about her younger years as she struggles to come to terms with her (and her family’s) past. Smith glowed as she got into the stories that entwine her family, friends, and locations across British Columbia. It was really nice to have a locally written story that helps you remember places that you’ve been, that you can share in your mind’s eye with the character. The honest performance of Smith, portraying the love that Sally has for her aunties and her partner wrapped around me like a warm blanket. And when you see the loss the character has faced and will face, you want to wrap Sally in that blanket, too.

This play had a much more detailed set than I’ve seen in most Fringe plays, but I’m not sure that it needed it, as the character was clearly the focus. Oddly enough, the staircase (which normally you’d think was unnecessary in a small show) was the only set piece they really would need.
The one detracting bit of the show for me was the beginning. Sally was sorting things into boxes, and what appeared to be an anxiety disorder was played for laughs that I didn’t think worked very well, and it made the opening a little slow. But like I say, when Smith got to the stories, she got to the gold in the piece. That’s when the play really shined.

The audience was mainly composed of women, and it’s a shame, because I’m worried that this piece will be labelled not just an ‘East Side’ piece, but a ‘women’s’ piece as well, and that would do it a disservice. Sally Lives Here is a touching portrait of love and loss that anyone would do well to see.

By Tim Crumley