How (Not) To Live In Suburbia, Soho Theatre – Review


Annie Siddons

Loneliness is one of today’s great taboos. Despite greater connectivity via social media, smartphones and so on, the sense of alienation in the 21st century is rife. It is in this climate that Annie Siddon’s autobiographical show takes place.

In How (Not) To… Siddons opens up about her recent experiences about being a single mother. Following the break up of her marriage and years of moving house on a regular basis, Siddons decided to put down some roots for the sake of her children in THOR (her acronym for Twickenham, Home Of Rugby). As a place for her daughters to grow up, it was ideal, but as a ‘proper’ Londoner Siddons found she couldn’t fit in, despite her best efforts and far from the beating heart of the capital, found suburbia stymied her creative mojo.

Jumping back and forth between Siddons’ commentary and filmed scenes by Richard DeDomenici that recreate her sometimes surreal, but nevertheless ‘true’ experiences of living in Twickenham, Siddons shows a flair at capturing the absurdities of her suburban existence and of life in general. Everyone who has made an impact on this part of her life is referenced, whether it is her former agent, her daughters (who because of their Mediterranean heritage are depicted as small olive trees), a book group host or a former, younger lover…

Consolidating this diverge range of influences, Siddon has fashioned a show that is delightfully left field with its off-beat humour and unflinching honesty. Her show has obviously been produced in collaboration with others, but in terms of sharing time with the audience as well as an assortment of other characters on screen, this also befalls to Nicki Hobday – a comedic natural at playing dry, disdainful characters with expressive faces.

For anyone who lives and works in (Greater) London, one of the joys of watching this show is the comparison of different areas and the dichotomy between ‘proper’ London and the suburbs. It is evident that Siddons is a Londoner through and through, and in having her show performed in Soho, I’m sure she’s thrilled and thriving on the unique ‘decadent’, creative buzz that the centre of London offers.

How (Not) To Live In Suburbia runs at Soho Theatre until Sat 18 Feb 2017, 7.15pm evenings, 4pm matinee.

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