Evening Standard Theatre Awards - my two favourite winners
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Review: Nor Woman Neither, Tristan Bates Theatre - sharp comedy that has shades of Fleabag

If Nor Woman Neither sounds familiar it's from Hamlet when the prince is talking about losing interesting in life and feeling misunderstood by his friends.

Nor Woman Neither ©Laura Dorn Photography-38
Nor Woman Neither ©Laura Dorn Photography

It's a curiously poignant title for a sharply funny coming of age story about the struggle of turning childhood dreams into reality while navigating the slings and arrows of love and lust.

Written and performed by Ingrid Schiller and Verity Kirk we meet Laura (Schiller) as a child in South Africa reluctantly watching a Bond movie with her dad.

In her child-like way, she wants to be Honey Rider in the film - beautiful and the focus of attention. She also feels the first stirring of sexual desire, even if she doesn't yet understand what it is.

Desire to be seen

The scenario will be played out time and time again as we follow her through English boarding school, drama school and early career, a mixture of the desire to be seen, to fit in, to be loved... and sexual desire.

Throughout Schiller talks directly to the audience drawing you into her in her world, her thoughts and the often misplaced rationale behind some of her actions.

Kirk, microphone in hand, skillfully plays all the other characters, drawing out the laughs with a well-timed pause, expression or action.

Nor Woman Neither ©Laura Dorn Photography-42
Nor Woman Neither ©Laura Dorn Photography

It is a funny play, exposing those awkward moments, the bad decisions and tough lessons learnt.

But amid the laughter, there are some serious messages about body image and some darker #metoo moments.

There are shades of Fleabag in Nor Woman Neither, it isn't quite as dark but like Phoebe Waller-Bridge's heroine, it doesn't shy away from reflecting modern women - flaws and all.

It's 60 minutes, I enjoyed it very much and I'm giving it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

You can see it at the Tristan Bates Theatre until 14 December.

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