Writer: Lauren Stones
Director: Sarah Trim-West
Reviewer: Karl O’Doherty
Ellen feels like a girl everyone knows but doesn’t quite know they do. Maybe you are Ellen. She’s freewheeling through a bumpy, unglamorous life, getting messed around by boys, lamenting her lost youth (she’s hardly over 23) and soothing it all over with the balm of adorable Snapchat filters.
She cuts a sorry figure, deploying self-defeating tactics to try and attract the boy she likes and glugging £3 wine from Budapest on her own on a Friday night. She gets a 16-second long phallic snap (#nofilter) which depressingly, inevitably, leads to the sender leaving her flat in such a dash at noon the next day he forgets his shoe. It’s painfully familiar stuff for any digitally raised millennial – the laws of the game have changed but no one shared the new rulebook.
Spiked throughout are charming songs with snappy, sometimes biting, but generally very funny lyrics. Strummed out on a ukulele (one of the five key signs of a true millennial) and sung with a clear, pleasing voice from (writer and lead actor) Lauren Stone they hold the show together. It’s called A Snap Musical, it feels like a few songs with some linking chat in between.
There are real good points, and the ambition of the work is one of them. Sadly, they just don’t match up and we’re left with a frustrating show. There seems to be a character arc, she’s learning some self-respect and life lessons, then throws it out when given the chance. Though it’s a short play, the piece can drag a little too. In a one-woman show (with a cameo from another guy) it needs to be a little punchier than this.
The songs and comic spark are what makes this play, but their wrapping isn’t doing them any favours. It’s so good, so good to hear a northern voice (Sunderland, maybe?) on a London stage and see something that could be a plausible representation of how it is for modern young women – flirting via SnapChat, self-doubt galore and 1 am dick pics. The central image is there, there’s definitely a better filter to use.
Runs until 28 January 2017 | Image: Spencer Trim-West