Review: Sunrise (Soho Theatre, online)

Jessie Cave’s show was recorded in the empty venue in April, but still retains the comedy of a professional mum navigating the thorny paths of a post-partum love life.

The men in her life – baby dad Alfie, and transient new beau – are represented by cartoon faces on pillows, which allows her to converse with them and convey conversations in a one-person format. It’s a clever idea and never jars.

Returning to the stage three years after the piece’s run at Edinburgh, Cave continues to make her creativity and originality feel as fresh as if it was first performed.

Clearly, comedy benefits best from an audience adding an additional layer of participation, yet Sunrise comes across without laughter prompts or applause.

Jessie Cave in Sunrise

The set has lots of drawings of sunrises and is dominated by the cot-cage Cave sleeps in with her baby. The reflection of freedom and confinement is clear, but not overstated.

Between scenes there are brief snippets of bubbly animation. There’s a lot of sex chat. A Harry Potter convention (Cave played Lavender Brown in the franchise) which becomes stressful and scatalogical.

Triggers, too, of difficult topics many may find it hard to see mentioned and put aside in an instant. Awkward moments, seconds of survival. Stories friends should share.

‘I probably should have a therapist. I should have a Nectar card’. Cave doesn’t belittle her experience but owns it and moves on.

Jessie Cave in Sunrise

Cave’s personality is friendly, open, and honest. She is no victim. Last year her third child (after reconciling with Alfie) was diagnosed with Covid as a baby, which must be worrying for everyone, but they are shown in a closing coda to be a happy, healthy family.

Directed by Adam Brace and edited by Andrew Nolan, Sunrise works well in a digital version, with Cave’s sister the solo (but enthusiastic) observer.

Adam Welsh’s sound design and Debbie Cave’s set design contribute to give this confessional show colour and interest.

You can rent Sunrise as part of Soho on Demand here.

Cave’s books Sunrise and Sunset are now available to purchase.

LouReviews received complimentary access to review Sunrise.