Reasons You Should(n't) Love Me Kiln Theatre
- Credit: Marc Brenner
After a year of theatre-land lockdown, the Kiln reopens its doors with a flourish by staging Amy Trigg’s bracingly honest, warm-hearted rights-of-passage monologue.
In a tour de force performance, Trigg gives us Juno, a young woman, born with spina bifida, clumsily navigating her twenties and grappling with the question that so many of us have privately nursed during this hugely disorientating past year: what are the Reasons You Should[n’t] Love Me?
Trigg is in her wheelchair throughout, but any disability-show preconceptions are swiftly confounded the moment Juno bursts onto the stage in a fuchsia suit with matching nails and lipstick.
Essex-born and street-smart, Juno pulsates with energy and her incidental observations, scattergun focus and excitable, fluttery passions make her an everywoman of her age as she hits the giddy, discombobulating dating game.
The narrative follows a predictable teen-to-womanhood rom-com structure: Juno moves from sixth form graduation and a loyal circle of friends to a thwarted hook-up with childhood crush, Justin, followed by depression-inducing heartbreak when her platonic friend Simon moves abroad.
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But it’s Trigg’s controlled handle on the specifics of what it means to live with spina bifida and the humanity, wisdom and humour in the telling that is repeatedly disarming and charming. A toilet mishap at a critical moment of seduction could be tragic and yet it’s not; at least not lastingly so. A non-date with Evangelical Toby and his cohort of eager Christians is more a test of patience than faith. Details of regular trysts with best friend Mel in the carwash are endearingly mundane till Mel implodes under work pressure.
Trigg’s comic timing is flawless as she zips about the stage, confined in the neither-nor touring set of a mocked up cube. A therapy validating turning point overstates what is far more effectively articulated through Juno’s self-help list making, and the play could do with an edit in the latter half.
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Winner of The Women’s Prize for Playwriting 2020, Trigg’s play doesn’t shy away from sentimentality because why should she? Juno gazes at the stars contemplating life’s imperfections and there’s more than enough gold dust showering both her and her creator. 4/5 stars