Pros: A decisively experimental, fast-paced monologue through a girl’s violated childhood naivety. An engaging performance.
Cons: It was very short, but we knew that already. The batting of apples may not agree with the faint-hearted.
Approaching the Battersea Arts Centre, a venue that has a growing reputation for daring, experimental theatre, I was intrigued by the prospect of this 20 minute monologue. What exactly can you do in 20 minutes? Barely enough time to down my bottle of artisan local brew before it would all be over, I thought. And it was fast indeed. Just like the raging storm that was outside, it came, it blew, and it left you hanging there.
Jenna Watt is a courageous young woman. She invites the public in, polishing a heap of crunchy apples, letting the public take some of them. Then she narrates a story, one of childhood dreams and friendship, one of bullying and peer pressure, one of fear and loyalty. What could possibly go wrong, when you are 12 years old and full of dreams?
As the story – her true story as I learn from the authors – evolves, the connection with apple-of-my-eyes turning into bad apple becomes clear, and the final act of batting the whole load of apples against us was innovative and amusing, if a little unsettling.
Jenna’s interpretation was heartfelt and convincing, moving at times, comical at others. She even turned out to be a great potential cricketer, missing only one apple out of the lot! Of course, it’s a 20 minutes one-woman show, so don’t expect much character development and storyline, but the show did hit the right apples, and got our emotions going. She could have done more in terms of filling the vast space available or using some audiovisuals to complement her own narrative, but then again, this was her very own emotional journey and the bareness may be deliberate.
Well done Jenna, I’m glad you got those bats off your chest. Just one word of advice, don’t take the front seats if you go…
Written and performed by: Jenna Watt
Dramaturgy: We Are Magpie
Lighting Design: Andy Gannon
Music: Matthew Hicks
Producer: Jeremy Woodhouse
Booking Until: 15th February 2014
Box Office: 020 7223 2223
Booking Link: https://www.bac.org.uk/bac/shows/itsok