Lazy Young and Talented with The Good Room @ Holden Street Theatres – The Studio
6:30pm, Mon 8 Mar 2010
So – it’d been a pretty warm day, and The Studio was a little sticky. I’d managed to get in early, and was suckling on my nice cold bottle of water while reading the programme (Daniel Evans – of Holy Guacamole fame – was involved in this… hurrah!), when a bloke sitting in the row in front turned around and addressed me: “You’re that guy, aren’t you? How many have you seen now?”
I was a bit startled by this. I looked at him – he was utterly unfamiliar to me – and said, “well, I’m a guy… I’m sorry, I’ve got a shocking memory for faces – have we met before?”
It turns out that he and his wife – both lovely people, I should note – has seen How to be a Lady the prior evening and had heard Tahli and myself chatting about oodles of shows. They were both heavy Fringe-goers themselves, so we swapped notes and raves and rants. I love that sort of interaction – it’s very human and very connected, and it’s what the Fringe should be about – reviewer “stars” be damned.
It’s a sparse set for Single Admissions – just a couple of mobile clothes racks in the middle of the empty blackness of The Studio. The lights drop, and three actresses appear – three girls, three different body shapes, three different attitudes to singledom. It’s a show that’s about friendship, about forging new relationships, about the expectations in the singles scene, about casual sex, about one-night-stands…
…and it’s also bloody good fun.
Wandering into the city for a night of clubbing, we see the girls prep for the evening, fending off their mortal enemies (the “Pencil Sisters” – brilliantly performed by the multi-character actors) as they make their way to their destination. Once inside, the expected nauseous flirting and bad pick-up lines are ridiculed, and the tactical assault planning within the bathroom was absolutely fantastic. Some girls picked up, leading to a frank discussion of casual sex, the morning-after pill, and the delicate problem of how to escape and make it home. Others did not; they made it safely home via the kebab shop (glorious innuendo ahoy!) and a free ride on the “slut bus”.
Throughout, Tammy Weller was amazing. Natalie Trent and Amy Ingram were great, too, with Ingram’s “too far?” asides to the audience being hilarious. The direction is divine – the girls use every square centimetre of the stage, swinging the mobile clothes racks around to create space as required; in fact, just about the only criticism that could be levelled at the play is that the closing dance number is a bit long… even then, it’s still funny – and wonderfully performed.
This world of singledom, as they portray it – cheap sex, boisterous clubbing and loss of control, coupled with the constant judgements from (and of) others – makes me glad I’m not female; these girls live in a world I don’t want to face. But I’ve come to the realisation that it kinda is a world that I face – Tammy wrote this as a twenty-something, but here I am in my late thirties in a similar position: single, not wanting kids but not sure about the future, and deathly afraid of loneliness. Sure, the resolution in Single Admissions is very much a “I’ve still got my friends” denouement, but most of my friends are married… they’ve all got what I haven’t.
But hey, no room for Mr MiseryGuts here – I’m actually reasonably happy with my lot.
In short, Single Admissions is a funny, warm-hearted, and occasionally abrasive look at the world of twenty-something singledom; whilst it appears to be heavily targeted at the twenty-something female crowd, this thirty-something bloke loved it. And, judging by the way the three actresses carry out their work onstage, I’m pretty sure they’re enjoying themselves, too.
(As an aside, I’d like to point out that, the night I saw this show, I predicted I’d actually write this post in September. Good one, me; only four months late ;)