REVIEW: I Loved Lucy (Arts Theatre) ★★★★

I Loved Lucy Arts Theatre

Modern day TV is a plethora of reality TV shows, with today’s ‘stars’ playing themselves in Chelsea, Essex or California. Yet people may forget that Lucille Ball was the original reality TV star, starring in I Love Lucy with her husband Desi.

Based on Lee Tannen’s memoirs of the same name, I Loved Lucy looks back at the last decade of Lucy’s life, told through Lee’s memories of his time with Lucy, his dear friend and heroine. It’s poignant in places, but mostly it’s very funny. Both characters are appealing and the story itself is engrossing.

Sandra Dickinson is fantastic as Lucy, with a dirty laugh to rival Barbara Windsor, as well as a knowing smile and true stage presence. Matthew Scott is charming as Lee, taking on all manner of characters to bring his Lucy’s story to life and the chemistry between them is lovely.

There does seem to be a surprising amount of references to backgammon, which Lucy discovered a passion for in her later life. It’s not the most exciting of games, so the decision to focus so much on this seemed strange. For fans of the show, it is the stories and memories that you want to hear. Who was Lucy? What made her so appealing to millions of people?

That said, it really is a charming show. It is an interesting trip down Memory Lane for Lucy fans and an eye opener for those who have perhaps heard of Lucille Ball but aren’t familiar with her work.

A heartwarming story, strong acting and lots of laughs.

Reviewed by Michaela Clement-Hayes
Photo: Alessia Chinazzo