Fucked

Penelope Skinner

Tangram Theatre

Old Red Lion

(2008)

Review by Philip Fisher

Fucked plots the journey of an unnamed young woman (F in the programme) from whore to virgin, with four stops along the way. If that sounds impossible, it isn't, since rookie playwright Penelope Skinner has written, or at least presented, the story backwards.

After a brief medieval fairy tale prologue, the talented Becci Gemmell immediately inhabits this sad character, helped by impeccable body language, which must owe much to director Daniel Goldman. Not only does the stress of lap dancing in an empty club on New Year's Eve in a desperate attempt to get a little cash manifest itself in her voice and thoughts but also the manic scratching of a far gone junkie.

Anyone that has ever wondered how an intelligent young girl can end up like this should come and see Fucked. Not only is the story all too believable but the naturalistic performance is utterly convincing.

One step and a year back, F had Leo, the boyfriend of her dreams - though goodness knows why, as he was far more interested in his footie and mates that his devoted girlfriend.

Two more years back, it is spaced-out hippie Mike who gets through F's vow of chastity with his infected penis and, before that, we meet the hopeful gap year girl desperate to lose her virginity before Uni.

The structure is fascinating and by deconstructing it, one can see that this contemporary horror story is far better told in reverse.

For almost the whole hour, you long to understand how F got to where she is. Thanks to this excellent team from Tangram Theatre, not only is the tale revealing, but there are a lot of laughs along the way, many of pained recognition as audience members obviously recall their own sexual embarrassments.

It goes without saying that Fucked comes highly recommended and it would be good to see it in Edinburgh this year where it might be the perfect show.