About a Girl

Wellington College Drama Company

SpaceTriplex

From 22 August 2016 to 27 August 2016

Rating: ***

Review by Graeme Strachan

Wellington College Drama Company's Fringe show About a Girl is a starkly inventive and wonderfully dark piece for a company made up of relatively young performers telling the story of Jack (or possibly Jake), an alcoholic policeman who, through his addiction, feels personally responsible for a tragedy involving the titular girl.

Partly devised as some sort of televisual adaptation of his story, the performance snaps between fragments of his home life and his work and depictions of the schoolgirl and her peril. It weaves a narrative that keeps the audience guessing, while hinting at the odd red herring, before solidifying towards the end into a bleak and tortured fourth-wall-breaking abstraction.

One aspect of the performance that surprised me was the relative brevity of the show. The stated 40 minutes was a drastic overstatement, with the show clocking in at something under half an hour. Regardless of this mismatch between PR and the actual show, the piece felt complete and never seemed to overstay its welcome. The fractious nature of the narrative and the concept itself was a snapshot into the mind of someone in distress and didn't require some pat resolution.

While the piece did suffer from a few issues, such as the venue not being nearly dark enough to allow some of the clearly planned scene changes and shock moments, it's still a brave accomplishment and a clear indication that more good things should come from these performers.