I have always liked Denise Van Outen. She’s from Essex, I’m from Kent, we’re of roughly the same age and she reminds me of my mates back home. Her character Steph in Some Girl I Used To Know, appears to be not too dissimilar from the real DVO, a down to earth yet glamorous former party girl, with plenty of entertaining tales to tell.
As the co-writer of this one woman musical, she has drawn on her own experiences and those of her friends for this sweet and funny story, set to an 80s and 90s pop soundtrack. Her cheeky, honest personality got the audience on side from the start – essential when solo on stage, although I felt the other characters were well written and so had formed fully in my mind without needing to see them acted out live.
As Steph toys with the idea of reigniting an old flame who pops up on Facebook, it seems fitting that she is the only real life part on set. Other characters are made up purely of shared memories, beeping phone notifications and connections within nostalgic song lyrics. I enjoyed this reflection on how we romanticise the virtual side of life. Here’s the trailer for the show:
For me, it was like grabbing a bottle of wine, catching up with an old friend, reminiscing about young love and grown up love whilst telling a few funny (and filthy) stories in between outbursts of song. A great night out!
So, on to the music!
This is the first time I’ve noticed a theatre production with a Soundcloud page – are there many more I’ve missed? It was obvious the music was high on the priority list with some beautiful reworkings of Ibiza classics and well chosen heartfelt pop ballads. Here’s Denise singing the soundtrack including cover versions of Culture Club, The Thompson Twins, Sonia, Billie Ray Martin and the original song Some Girl I Used To Know:
And to complement the official playlist – here’s my playlist which includes remixes of songs featured in the show.
- Kim Wilde – You Came
- The Thompson Twins – Hold Me Now
- Sonia – You’ll Never Stop Me From Loving You
- Culture Club – Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?
- Billie Ray Martin – Your Loving Arms
- Soft Cell – Say Hello, Wave Goodbye
Some Girl I Used To Know is on at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds until 8 February, ahead of a UK tour. Tickets range from £12-£25 and are available to book at www.wyp.org.uk