The Sugar Syndrome – Lucy Prebble


First per­formed by Eng­lish Stage Com­pany at the Royal Court The­atre in Lon­don, Octo­ber 16, 2003.  First pro­duced in the US by the Williamstown The­atre Fes­ti­val, July 27, 2005.

Orig­i­nal Cast:

Dani Carter (17)                                               Stephanie Leonidas
Jan Carter (45)                                                 Kate Duch­ene
Tim Saun­ders (38)                                           Andrew Woodall
Lewis Samp­son (22)                                        Will Ash
Voices of the Internet

Direc­tor:  Mar­i­anne Elliott
Set Designer:  Jonathan Fen­som
Light­ing Designer:
  Chris Davey
Sound Designer:
  Ian Dick­in­son

Pub­li­ca­tion:  Preb­bles, Lucy. The Sugar Syn­drome. Drama­tists Play Ser­vice, Inc. Drama Library PR6116. R42 S84 2006..

Set­ting:  Eng­land

Lan­guage:  Con­tem­po­rary with British slang.


It’s only once you reach an age when you real­ize why you hate your par­ents that you become too polite to artic­u­late it.

Genre/Style:  Serio-comedy

Plot:   A 17-year-old girl meets two strangers (a 22-year-old tele­mar­keter and a 38-year-old con­victed pedophile) online and devel­ops rela­tion­ships with them in real life.  Man­ages to be funny while deal­ing with seri­ous issues; looks at pedophilia from the point of view of the pedophile.  Despite its sub­ject mat­ter, the play avoids being sen­sa­tional or puerile.


Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mono­logues:  Mono­logues con­tain the first few lines and the last few lines; please con­sult the pub­lished text for the mono­logue in its entirety.

p.25: Tim talks about his attrac­tion to a lit­tle girl in his building


I just want to hear what her voice sounds like. (Smiles to him­self.) She’s a lit­tle madam. At the week­end, she was sit­ting on the wall, with this cloth doll, she wasn’t even play­ing with it, she was watch­ing her broth­ers. [Lines cut] So he takes the doll and he holds it over the skip like he might just drop it any sec­ond, but she just sits on the wall. Isn’t even both­ered, so he’s got noth­ing on her. She just taught him a les­son and the doll can go hang.

p.33–34:  Lewis hasn’t been able to reach Dani for a while so he drafts an email to her, which he doesn’t send.


Dani. You absent bitch. I miss you. It’s been six days, man. I’m sound­ing a lit­tle bit men­tal, which I don’t like. I rang you again and no answer. I get the feel­ing you’re actively not ring­ing me now. What if you’re dead? [Lines cut]Will you not write just write a lit­tle? Just to keep me going? ‘Cause I just keep imag­in­ing what you could be doing and it’s send­ing me men­tal. I’m sorry but it is. I miss you. Obvi­ously in a manly, inde­pen­dent, not both­ered way. But I do. (He sighs.)


Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Scenes: 

p. 13–15:  Dani finds out that Tim has been in prison and he tells her how he was sub­jected to aver­sion ther­apy. Part of Dani’s first line can be cut. Starts with


[Oh, well, that’s alright then.] You’ve got a nice voice. Let me guess, unem­ployed actor? Late-night DJ.

and ends with


(Con­sid­ers.) It made me want to elec­tro­cute kids.

p. 19–21:  Dani and Lewis are hang­ing out at his place and Lewis is try­ing to get Dani to have sex with him even though she’s hav­ing her period.  Starts with


She doesn’t think any­thing she doesn’t say. It’s like if she’s putting some­thing some­where she goes, “I’ll just put that there.” Who the fuck is she talk­ing to? Or she’s dri­ving and she’s just, “Ooh, what’s he doing? I think we’ll park over there.” Shut up. She’s like Cas­san­dra except her curse is to speak and have peo­ple want to beat her over the head with a hammer.

and ends with


(He squeezes her bum.) I’ll see your kiss and raise you a bum squeeze. Com on, one bum squeeze to stay in the game. (Dany squeezes his bum, play-reluctantly. Through­out, Lewis moves to be on top of her.) Oh, she’s seen it! She’s stay­ing in. Ques­tion is, is she bluff­ing? (Amer­i­can accent.) And here we can see, Marty, with our spe­cial under-the-table cam­eras that Dani the “D-Man” Carter has a pair she’s been hid­ing. (He puts his hand up her top.) Can she go all the way? Let’s find out with the rest of the flop.

p.24–26:  Tim talks about his attrac­tion to a lit­tle girl named Domino and his love affair with a boy named David.  Starts with


You’re going to read all those?

and ends with


Thing is with boyfriends, is even­tu­ally they’re going to want to take you out to dinner.

p.41–43:  Lewis goes to Tim’s apart­ment look­ing for Dani and threat­ens Tim with expo­sure if he does any­thing to Dani.  Starts with


Look mate. I know all about you and unless you want your neigh­bors to know and all I’d let me in.

and ends with


                I know, Lewis, you could. And I’m ter­ri­fied ’cause I’ve got just so much to lose.



Select Bib­li­og­ra­phy of Reviews and Crit­i­cism:  (Note:  arti­cle title links are to the online ver­sions, mostly UW-only restricted unless des­ig­nated as open access.)

Billing­ton, M. (2003, Oct 21). Review: Last night’s show: The­atre: The sugar syn­drome: Royal court, lon­don 3/5. The Guardian, pp. 30.

de Jongh, N. (2003, Oct 21). Depraved new world ; THEATRE. Evening Stan­dard, pp. 46.

Macaulay, A. (2003, Oct 23). The sugar syn­drome royal court, lon­don. Finan­cial Times, pp. 19.

Nightin­gale, B. (2003, Oct 21). The sugar syn­drome. The Times, pp. 19.

Tay­lor, P. (2003, Oct 30). The­atre: Girls will be boys in a mixed-up world. The Inde­pen­dent, pp. 14.

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