Theatre Royal Plymouth

A Graeae Theatre Company & Theatre Royal Plymouth Co-Production

The Solid Life of Sugar Water


Monday 8 - Saturday 13 June 2015 Download Calendar

The Drum


“It had been a while. I was really nervous. I mean, it’s not really like riding a bike. Sex. It’s far more complicated.”

Phil and Alice are in love – familiar, flawed, ordinary love. Phil and Alice are on a journey, but this journey doesn’t have an A to Z.

Candid, uninhibited and visceral, this world-premiere from award winning playwright Jack Thorne is an intimate, tender play about loss, hurt and rediscovery.

Playwright Jack Thorne recently adapted the cult novel and film Let the Right One In for the stage, which played to sell-out audiences in London’s West End.

For television, his credits include; Glue, Skins, Shameless and This is England and for theatre include; Hope for the Royal Court, When You Cure Me, Fanny and Faggot and Bunny. This marks his second collaboration with Graeae.

The Solid Life of Sugar Water is a co-production between Graeae Theatre Company and Theatre Royal Plymouth. All performances will include audio description and creative captioning.

Recommended for everyone aged 18+
Post show Q&A: Wed 10 Jun

Edinburgh Festival Fringe

The Solid Life of Sugar Water will go on to be performed at the Pleasance Theatre, Edinburgh from Wednesday 5th to Saturday 30th August 2015

Pricing & Concessions

Full price:

All concessions:

Please note: Prices include a 70p per ticket booking fee.


Sweet and funny moments abound in Jack Thorne’s script. They are beautifully fielded by Genevieve Barr (Alice) and Arthur Hughes (Phil) who present every stage of the couple’s relationship with warmth and disarming candour.


Jack Thorne’s multi-layered two-hander for Graeae – about a couple grieving for their stillborn child – has no happy ever after, but is rewarding to watch… Amit Sharma’s spot-on production.


Startlingly good… Unflinching but generous. Grisly but lovely.


The consistently sensitive and thoughtful performances, the forceful pacing (all credit to director Amit Sharma), and the thrilling nerve of Thorne’s script combine in a stunning exploration of the role of sex after trauma in mending two broken souls and bodies.


What the piece achieves is an unflinching frankness on the subject of intimacy…Amit Sharma’s tenderly directed production.


One of the most talked about plays at the fringe…the writing is visceral and precise.


This is the type of frank, shocking theatre that will follow you home; sitting on your shoulder and in the back of your mind for days.


Funny, poignant, arresting…a complex emotional watch…heartwarming & heartwrenching.


It’s the writing that hits you squarely in the gut – it has a real sense of precision and meter, the tone sometimes funny, sometimes filthy, sometimes hopeful, sometimes utterly devastating….Amit Sharma’s production is not always an easy watch, it’s often upsetting and wrenching, but it’s funny too and done with sensitivity and intelligence.


Genuinely moving and presents a good showcase for two talented actors under the direction of Amit Sharma.


Jack Thorne’s heartbreaking new play…[Genevieve] Barr and [Arthur] Hughes play it beautifully.


A bold statement of both the quality of the company’s [Graeae’s] work and their emphasis on ensuring that it’s accessible to as wide an audience as possible.


Foremost a touching and believable love story…with strong performances from [Genevieve] Barr and [Arthur] Hughes, this redemptive, moving story is brought to life.


Cast and Creative Team

Genevieve Barr – ‘Alice’

Genevieve Barr

Genevieve’s acting career started with the lead role of Amelia in BBC drama series The Silence. She was subsequently nominated for a BAFTA for ‘best actress’ for this role. Television credits include Shameless, BAFTA award winning drama series The Fades, The Amazing Dermot, True Love and Call the Midwife.

Genevieve’s theatre debut was in 2013 touring the UK with Translations by Brian Friel (Millennium Forum) and directed by Adrian Dunbar.

Arthur Hughes – ‘Phil’

Arthur Hughes

Arthur trained at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, graduating in 2013. He joined the BBC Radio Drama Company after becoming a recipient of the Carelton Hobbs bursary award. Theatre credits include: Bedazzled: A Welshman in Scotland (Welsh Tour/St. Andrews Byre Theatre), TRACY (The White Bear Theatre, Kennington).

TV includes: Doctors (BBC Birmingham).

Radio credits include: For BBC Radio 4: Sword of Honour, Listening to the Dead, The Orestea, Pilgrim, Home Front, Ordeal by Innocence, The Other Simenon, For Whom The Bell Tolls, The Real Trial of Oscar Wilde, Democracy for Beginners.

Jack Thorne – Writer

Theatre includes Hope (Royal Court), Let The Right One In (Dundee Rep/Royal Court, NTS/Marla Rubin Ltd.) ,The Borough (Punchdrunk /Aldeburgh Festival), Stuart: A Life Backwards (adapt. Hightide/Sheffield Theatre – Edinburgh Festival & tour), Mydidae (Drywrite – Soho Theatre/Trafalgar Studios), The Physicists (adapt. Donmar Warehouse), Bunny (Nabokov – UK tour/NYC), Red Car Blue Car, Two Cigarettes, When You Cure Me (Bush Theatre), Greenland (National Theatre), 2nd May 1997 (Bush/Nabokov), Burying Your Brother in the Pavement (NT Connections) and Stacy (Tron/Arcola/Trafalgar Studios). Television: Glue, The Fades (Best Drama Series – BAFTA 2012), This Is England 88 (Best Mini-Series – BAFTA 2012) and This is England 86, Cast-Offs and episodes of Skins and Shameless. Film: Warbook, A Long Way Down and The Scouting Book for Boys (Best British Newcomer – London Film Festival 2010).

Amit Sharma – Director

Amit Sharma has been Graeae’s Associate Director since 2011, and is a graduate from Graeae’s Missing Piece actor training course. In summer 2012, Amit co-directed the outdoor spectacle Prometheus Awakes (GDIF and SIRF), marking the first large-scale outdoor production to be artistically led by Deaf and disabled people in the UK. Also for Graeae, he directed Ted Hughes’ The Iron Man which toured both nationally and internationally and co-directed Graeae’s Rhinestone Rollers in Sequins and Snowballs with Jenny Sealey at the Southbank Centre. He has worked extensively as an actor and director for various companies including the BBC, the National Theatre, Tamasha Theatre Company, East 15 Drama School and The Unicorn where he was part of the Ensemble.

Lily Arnold – Designer

Training: Wimbledon College of Art. Theatre and opera: The Jew of Malta, King Lear, Taming Of The Shrew, The Rape of Lucrece (RSC), Beached (Marlowe Studios/Soho Theatre), The Edge of our Bodies, Gruesome Playground Injuries (Gate Theatre), Peddling (High Tide Festival Theatre)_, Minotaur (Polka Theatre), World Enough and Time (Park Theatre), The Boss of It All (Assembly Roxy/Soho Theatre), A Season in the Congo and The Scottsboro Boys (Young Vic, Clare space), Happy New (Trafalgar Studios), Ahasverus (Hampstead Downstairs), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Cambridge Arts Theatre), Opera Scenes (National Opera Studio), Red Handed (The Place, London), Website:

Ian Scott – Lighting Designer

Ian trained at Mountview. Recent work includes: Sex and the Three Day Week (Liverpool Playhouse), Curlew River (Barbican, Lincoln Center & UCLA Berkeley), My Name is…, Tamasha and Owen Wingrave, (Aldeburgh & Edinburgh International Festival). Ian has worked with Graeae on many productions including: Peeling, Blasted, Static (with Suspect Culture), Reasons To Be Cheerful and most recently Blood Wedding (with Dundee Rep & Derby Theatre). Other theatre credits include: Frozen (fingersmiths & Birmingham Rep), and Where The Wild Things Are, Higglety Pigglety Pop! / Aldeburgh Music & LA Philharmonic.

Lewis Gibson – Sound Designer

Lewis studied music at Dartington College of Arts. He is an associate artist with Uninvited Guests (It Is Like It Ought To Be, Make Better Please, The Good Neighbour), a founding member of the Arab/Anglo company SABAB (In The Eruptive Mode, The Speaker’s Progress, Richard III – An Arab Tragedy, The Mirror for Princes, Al-Hamlet Summit) and long term collaborator with Graeae (The Iron Man, Belonging, The Limbless Knight, The Garden).

As a writer, director and composer he has made a number of pieces of young people’s theatre with The Royal Exchange, Tangere Arts and The Unicorn including Tin Soldier (winner OFFIE best young people’s show 2012), A Thousand Slimy Things, The Pardoner’s Tale and The Chair. He has received commissions for sound art works from the V&A, Tate Britain, Shunt Lounge, Museum of London and Historic Royal Palaces.

Cathy Waller – Movement Director

Winner of the London Dance Award in 2012, Cathy Waller has worked nationally and internationally as a Choreographer and Movement Director for a variety of dance & theatre companies. Working as resident choreographer of Dance Offensive 2007 – 2012, Cathy has since created work for the BBC, Breakin’ Convention and Tate Modern amongst others. After being awarded the Blueprint Bursary, commissioned by East London Dance and Sadler’s Wells, Cathy created Cathy Waller Company, working with dancers and live musicians to create a new artistic vision, focusing on the interaction between rhythm, sound and vigorously challenging contemporary movement. The Company completed a 17 date tour in 2012, including performances at Sadler’s Wells Sampled, West End Live and the National Theatre. Since their first successful tour, the company have gone on to create outdoor work, commissioned by Without Walls, Brighton Festival and Gi20, and will be performing a brand new indoor Double Bill Tour in 2016.

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