Written and directed by Hattie Taylor
16th – 18th August, 8pm
First up at this ‘open mic night’ is Matilda Dickinson, who provides a selection of sweet and honest lyrics against the simple strum of a ukulele. Her crystal-clear vocals are refreshing, and she is able to deliver wry insight on body-positivity in the jovial ‘Boobs’, and yet centre herself for the gentle musings of ‘Goddess’.
Next up is Lottie Turner, who picks up her guitar with a nervous smile – but is not able to play anything, because her nerves get the better of her and she succumbs to a panic attack.
It is something of a shocking start, but as Lottie (Charlotte Turner-McMullan) recovers, she decides that, instead of performing her songs, she will instead talk about her struggles with mental health.
In such an intimate setting, the ensuing conversation was a stark experience: there was nowhere to escape, but then that was very much the point. To paraphrase a section from the piece, in order to be able to talk about mental health, we have to start talking about it, and it’s good that this play has started off this conversation.
Lottie’s 45-minute monologue (written by Hattie Taylor) was delivered well, and with an endearing nervous energy. The structure itself was jumbled and – by self-admission – contradictory, a clever way to demonstrate how those with anxiety can think and speak.
Difficult topics were not shied away from: at the mention of suicide, the atmosphere in the room noticeably changed. No one dared move, and it was an uncomfortable feeling, which only goes to show how important the message of the piece was.
Whilst the addition of a 10-minute interval in between the two performances felt a bit unnecessary, and somewhat distracted from the overall cohesion, both women still shone in their own way. It was clear that the piece had personal input from those involved, and was ultimately a success in contributing to the widening conversation about mental health.