REASONS YOU SHOULD(N’T) LOVE ME
Written and performed by Amy Trigg
Directed by Charlotte Bennett
Kiln Theatre – until 12 June
Amy Trigg has already won the 2020 Women’s Prize for Playwrighting for this sparky, bracingly honest monologue (which she also performs, brilliantly), and I wouldn’t be remotely surprised if she garners a couple more. This is a captivating script, full of wit and pithy observations, sublimely directed by Charlotte Bennett.
Trigg plays Juno, a sassy, likeable Essex girl with a wicked sense of fun, not to mention a decent circle of mates, wonderfully supportive parents, if not actually a boyfriend then certainly a “friend with benefits” (even if it’s abundantly clear that she could do better), her own flat ….and a wheelchair, owing to the fact that she was born with spina bifida. Trigg’s script covers in some detail the surgeries and scars that Juno bears, and the practical challenges she regularly faces, but the real meat of the writing lies in the compelling, and occasionally very moving, depiction of the gulf between this young woman’s outward confidence and the inner fragility of a person who, through no fault of her own, has been marked out as ‘different’ from birth.
Not for a second does any of this become mawkish, indeed much of it is laugh-out-loud hilarious, but both writing and performance are deceptively clever. With her scarlet trouser suit, mass of curls knotted above a cherubic face, and some formidable comedy timing, Trigg presents a sunny, funny woman that is so easy to immediately warm to and root for. As a result, when she confides that she tried to hurl herself out of a window when she was eight, or she intimates how lonely she sometimes gets, the effect is pretty devastating…. the darkness very much throws the humour into stark relief, and words like “deformed” and “broken” drop like verbal hand grenades. Trigg’s ability to turn on a dime from wryly cheeky to utter despair is seriously impressive.
Juno’s journey as she searches for love and self acceptance, by way of uncomfortable hospital visits, some fairly mortifying sexual encounters, a couple of embarrassing drunken stories, a tribe of faith healers, and seventeen visits to the musical Cats (!), is one that it is emphatically worth going on with her. Ms Trigg is a talent to watch and rejoice in: there are SO many reasons to love both her and this thoroughly engaging piece of theatre.