Ramona Tells Jim

Sophie Wu

Bush Theatre

From 20 September 2017 to 21 October 2017

Review by Philip Fisher

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Sophie Wu's debut is a quirky comedy-drama set somewhere in the Scottish Highlands. There, three misfits struggle to come to terms with issues that would be far from challenging for the majority of society.

There are two timelines. In the first, local lad Jim played by Joe Bannister falls for Ruby Bentall's Ramona, an eccentric London schoolgirl on a field trip.

Since both are outcasts, they bond over crustacea and the rare chance to chat with someone who will actually respond.

The consequences are dramatic, involving dual loss of virginity, some careless talk and the drawing of even more blood.

This only becomes fully apparent fifteen years later, by which time Jim is in his early 30s and attached to Amy Lennox as possessive Pocahontas, a typically unhappy late teen with unambitious ambitions.

Her announcement of pregnancy coincides with Ramona's return, causing crises galore for all three.

Ramona tells Jim takes place in a carefully controlled, hermetically sealed environment, which might limit its appeal. While the meeting of two lonely teenagers is credible, the consequences are extreme to say the least, borrowed from the horror genre but without the graphic detail. 

Their reunion 15 years later seems the stuff of whimsical fantasy rather than real life. However, that may well have been Sophie Wu's intention. 

By the end of 80 minutes, little has been resolved but viewers will have had a glimpse of three unhappy people struggling to put brave faces on their misfortunes.