by Laura Kressly
At 22 years old, Rigby is a troubled, naive lesbian navigating the dating and club scene where everyone knows everyone else. The awkward, bumbling young woman just wants to get fucked and fucked up at the weekends – but between the nasty gossip and incomprehensible social politics, her good intentions are exploited. Though this stark, unsentimental view of the London queer scene has moments of comedy and poignancy, the rambling script lacks a focused and coherent journey.
More of a snapshot of a nocturnal life than a story, Rigby spends most of the time she’s not at her internship at a TV production company at lesbian bars and club nights. In between these nights out, she chats with the audience about sex, the cliques and personality types on the scene, and her disdain for them. The world she travels in is small, incestuous and vindictive with few moments of kindness. Rigby searches in vain for genuine connection, but is rarely rewarded. There’s some humour amongst the bleakness, but more disheartening is the piece’s lack of direction.
Izzy Tennyson is a highly-strung, gurning Ribgy who awkwardly slouches her way through life. Older queer women find her cute, but when social awkwardness and too much substance abuse make for some pretty serious faux pas, Rigby can’t really cope. Tennyson’s heightened awkwardness is well contrasted with suave fetishist Witch (Grace Chilton) and brash Toad (Rebekah Hinds), but the clear characters’ mini-adventures don’t make for an engaging narrative.
There are some great moments between characters, and some laugh-out-loud dialogue – Tennyson certainly has a way with words. The cast is strong and characters engaging, but as a whole, Grotty lacks purpose and shape.
Grotty runs through 26 May.
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