Edinburgh Festival Fringe theatre review: 501 Things I Do In My Bedroom, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Sally Stott.
“Life isn’t all about you.” A defiant, sulky 20-something teaching assistant sits on the floor of her bedroom, one eye on social media, relaying what she recently told a petulant child at school. A woman obsessed with how others see her, she could just as easily be speaking to herself, but since she isn’t that self-aware, she’s not – and that’s very funny.
Following the success of HBO’s TV series Girls, Nicola Wren’s one-woman show brilliantly sends up her nameless, pouting antihero as she attempts to find her place in a world she’s determined will recognise her talents soon – once she works out what they are. Half-heartedly writing a children’s book, preoccupied by the belief that her parents never wanted her anyway, she becomes obsessed with her less-than-enthusiastic boyfriend Robbie, posting pictures on Facebook, oblivious to the fact he’s really not that into her.
Every now and then she breaks into a frantic exercise routine to the booming sound of Beyoncé singing “Who run the world? Girls!” It’s an unconvincing portrayal of the kind of female empowerment that she, trapped by her inability to move on from childhood, is unable to achieve. Whether it’s her attempts to mimic Dolly Parton on YouTube (18 subscribers), booking a flight to India (“for three days time!”) or obsessing over Robbie, the self-defined “green Starburst” in the pack, Wren’s sparkling writing brilliantly satirises her generation and its preoccupation with the self, embodied by the selfie.
As this clear-eyed, emotionally giving young woman eventually comes to terms with the fact Robbie may not be the man she hoped, it seems like she’s finally able to move on from heartache, her spirit a little dampened, but soul slightly wiser. Maybe she’s growing up after all – it’s just taking her a bit longer to get there than it might have done in the past.
Just the Tonic at the Caves (Venue 88) until 29 August
Main image: Richard Davenport
Published in The Scotsman on 17 August 2015
Edinburgh Festivals 2015: complete coverage
• Get everything on our Festivals homepage – on desktop, mobile or tablet
• Looking for reviews? Check out the latest Scotsman reviews – or browse all the reviews ranked by star rating
• Watch all the latest videos from the #WOWwagon
• Get distracted by our Festival Blog
• Follow our social accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – and join the conversation with #WOWfest