by Laura Kressly
Chloe Florence lives her life by a couple of key principles: smoke weed and eat pussy everyday. Along with drugs, Tinder dates and all-night raves, these keep her busy. They are also powerful and necessary distractions from homelessness, which she has been since she was 17. She shares anecdotes about her experiences partying, sex and staying safe in this rough and ready, music-infused, autobiographical monologue about her lived experience as a queer homeless woman. Though the piece takes some time to gain momentum, the latter half is an unstoppable, unapologetic roar.
by Maeve Ryan
Citysong contemplates the timeless cycle of life by following three generations of a family on one important day. Writer Dylan Coburn Gray calls this lyrical piece a ‘play for voices’ and indeed the script began its life as spoken word. It won the Verity Bargate Award, which brought it from Ireland’s national theatre, the Abbey, to London. Both inner city theatres are perfect settings for this evocation of life and family narrated by a cab driver in a rain-soaked, streetlamp-lit Dublin.
by Laura Kressly
Last year at the fringe, my nearly eight-year relationship fell apart. In order to survive the final stretch of the festival, I put on a brave face and told no one. Already tired and drained but with a week or so still to go, I continued to see shows and write about them, refusing to acknowledge my personal emotional landscape.
by Laura Kressly
Ink Asher Hemp (they/them) is trans nonbinary. They are taking up space and they are not apologising in this one-person show with a bit of spoken word that overviews trans and queer issues.
by guest critic Amy Toledano
Francesca Beard delves into the complex subject of truth and looks at how it could be perceived in a post-apocalyptic world. Using spoken word (which Beard is clearly a pro at) as well as song and multimedia imagery, the audience takes a journey with their Shaman and guide Francesca who hopes to lead them to the real meaning of truth.
by guest critic Ava Davies
On the first page of WHITE’s playtext, Koko Brown writes, “This play is for anyone who has ever felt like the other”.
“You have the best of both worlds/ But you still have to pick a world/ You have to pick a side”
Things have never been easy for Abby. She doesn’t get on with her mum, she’s didn’t do well in school, she drifts from one shitty job to another without any purpose or goals. She misses her Nana, with whom she would spend long hours writing fantastical stories and listening to music. Nina Simone was their favourite. In Exactly Like You, Lotte Rice tells Abby’s story through a moving, passionate spoken word monologue on losing her way and finding it again.
Rice’s way with words makes Abby funny and relatable, the sort of woman you could sit down with over a pint or a cup of tea and natter about all and sundry going on in the world. She would always have a story or an anecdote to share that would make you laugh or think, or both. Her decision to make Abby a working class, down-at-heel character so expressive and articulate through spoken word is a fantastic choice rather than catering to the stereotype of working class young people as grunting cokeheads who only live for nights out on the piss. The piece is punctuated with soulful renditions of Nina Simone’s songs, effectively breaking up the dense text. Though Abby’s story isn’t remarkable in itself, the mode of telling it is hugely refreshing.
Designer Elouise Farley and lighting designer Zanna Woodgate work together to create a landscape of glowing bookcases, the sort that fit vinyl records. Though simple and subtle, they capture the inner warmth of Abby’s Nana who lived for music of all sorts. They are her memories of her time with Nana, always present and always driving her forward, and a lovely addition that makes the piece feel more polished than a bare stage.
When Abby hits rock bottom after yet another night out drowning her painful memories with too much whiskey, an unexpected helping hand appears. Fortunately, this is not some benevolent, condescending force sent to save her. Abby’s journey is one of reflective self-discovery told in an engaging, lively format with fantastic music to boot.
Exactly Like You runs through 28th August.
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