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REVIEWS: Daly stars as poet comes vividly to life; STEVIE Sutton Arts Theatre, Sutton Coldfield.

Byline: JOHN SLIM

TWO decades in the life of the poet Stevie Smith are told in a torrent of words.

Eighty per cent of them emerge from Alison Daly, in a performance of stature that commands attention.

She becomes the woman who was fiercely independent, who was often exasperating, but who, in Hugh Whitmore's interpretation, had no delusions of grandeur.

"A poet's not an important person. There'll always be another poet."

Inevitably, there are chunks of Stevie Smith's poetry in the script. They fit neatly, unostentatiously, and they are spoken without a hitch.

This is a huge role, accomplished almost perfectly on the first night and illuminated intermittently by wide eyes and a flashing smile.

Tremendous support comes from Myra Mitchell, as the aunt with whom she lived - "The Lion Aunt".

She, too, emerges as a woman of independence - but this is a small, fragile creature, moving forgetfully into old age.

It is a portrait beautifully drawn.

The production runs until May 12. Verdict: *****
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:May 5, 2007
Words:164
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