A Very British Lesbian

Fiona Goodwin has written and performed this piece as the ultimate coming out story. Her life experiences are quite spectacular – her formative years spent as a born again Christian; an exorcism of 12 gay demons by ‘Pastor Mick’; a spell in a mountain top convent in Italy; living in the Honduran woods with the Virgin Mary; travelling the world with her best friend/love of her life and hanging out with power lesbians in West Hollywood. Throughout all of this, what truly evaded her was peace of mind – the ability to be out, proud and forge a life and love with a woman who wasn’t already married or incapable of fidelity.

A coming out story with a difference, this was an interesting hour of storytelling

We are treated to hearty anecdotes on Goodwin’s world travels, each one catapulting her onto the next as the monster of shame attempted to engulf her. Pastoral support, exorcisms and therapy couldn’t rid the ‘gay demons’, and after decades of soul searching, it would take a major terrorist incident to finally furnish Goodwin with the peace of mind that would allow her to live her life to its full potential.

There was an emotional distance in the narration that somewhat detracted from the delivery; this was possibly the result of over-rehearsing. Goodwin is undoubtedly a skilled storyteller – however there was a depth of emotion lacking on what was quite literally a tale of life or death, and as a result this intensity pretty much bypassed the audience. I’d have liked to have heard more about the plunging depths of shame; the fear Goodwin must have been gripped with throughout the exorcism; and the crushing isolation when her ex-partner and young son moved to France. These were all masked with humour, and I appreciate the irony of the ‘stiff brittish upper lip’ conceal-don’t-feel mentality. However this performance was supposed to be about her breaking out from that trope.

A coming out story with a difference, this was an interesting hour of storytelling. The variety of tools and techniques utilised by Goodwin held our attention – the animated pictures accompanying her stories; the glossy photographs alluding to a life better lived; and her fluent multi-lingual forays into other languages. Goodwin’s comedic edge should be elaborated on; she’s naturally very funny and the juxtaposition of these interludes, with a deeper emotional exploration, will elevate this piece substantially. This is a worthwhile way to spend an hour – if I had one message for Goodwin, it would be ‘once more - with feeling’.

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Performances

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The Blurb

Although her religion, family, and country would prefer her to be straight, Fiona Goodwin has other preferences that involve rescuing pretty maidens. Forgive me, father, for I have sinned. Despite religious exorcisms, a lifetime of Jungian analysis, and dating countless beautiful but unavailable women and one very available but sweaty man, Ms Goodwin is and always will be A Very British Lesbian. 'Exactly what a solo show ought to be – deeply personal, revelatory, funny and engaging' (NoHoArtsDistrict.com). 'A comedic coup. Brilliant, droll, and funny' (CurtainUp.com). 'She just never met the right chap' (Fiona's mother).

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