Wednesday, 7 March 2018

REVIEW: Good Girl at the Trafalgar Studios

The Good Girl (GG) is written and performed by Naomi Sheldon and is the sort of one woman show often seen at Edinburgh Fringe and transfers to the Trafalgar Studios from the Vaults Festival under Waterloo Station. It works because Naomi as GG delivers her monologue from a small gold podium with wonderful animated expressions, sparkling piercing eyes and sharp comic timing. She engages her audience , just like Victoria Wood did in her monologues, with every look , grimace and posture and easily builds a rapport with the largely female audience.Dressed in a gold headband, dungarees and red shoes, she performs without costume changes or props.

She tells the story of her adolescence and sexual maturity from a ten year old prepubescent girl at school, to knowing twenty one year old university graduate to today a thirty two year old woman. The story begins with the mixed relay swimming semifinal when her coach encourages her to be a good girl but she rebels and sits on the pool bottom! She easily switches between other characters including her three close friends Zoe, Sarah and Laura in Sheffield and tells of their personal development and growing apart because GG is too intense.

Each scene is punctuated by music from the period with frequent snatches of Abba songs and we learn she measures how bad she feels by how much Abba "it takes to get me back". There are good jokes like when a postman gets shot in Sheffield and questions why as "he is just the messenger" and amusing recollections that obviously resonated with the audience. The language is not explicitly feminist or political but the insightful exploration of femininity and coming of age means the messages are there.

Throughout her growing up she worries about her body, how it smells and looks, and worries that its edges are blurred and says she has become a practical non feeler. As the hour progresses her recollections become darker but she still has a desire to be seen as a Good Girl and to feel alive and the audience enjoys her every word.

Review by Nick Wayne 

Rating: ★★★★
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