About a Girl

There aren’t many plays with a cast of teenagers that are this slick. Some excellent tech and blocking make About a Girl a fast-paced and immersive horror, though the writing and acting sometimes fail to live up to the play’s impressive aesthetics.

The play thunders along at an impressive pace, but its 40 minute running time can sometimes feel a little slight

Jack (Christian Gateley) is an alcoholic policeman, and a poor drink-induced decision on the job leads to tragedy. Plagued by guilt and haunted by the girl whose death he feels responsible for, Jack seeks to find closure by turning his experiences into a film.

The team of writer-directors (Jonny McCausland, Tatiana Hardy and Livi Empson) have devised an innovative staging, seamlessly flicking between scenes and utilising every inch of the stage. The film set framing device is inspired, and leaves the audience questioning the boundaries between the real and the artificial. James Wilson’s tech delivers some horrific moments, none more so than the terrifying opening scene - you have been warned!

Sometimes, however, the staging has a tendency to go a little overboard. The duo of creepy girls that pranced around with Maya Burnand’s murder victim feels gratuitous, and a vertical bed to show Jack’s sleepless nights just ends up looking a bit silly. Elsewhere the lo-fi staging techniques go down a treat: a piece of cloth with holes for windows should look ridiculous as a car, but is actually just what the scene needs and works well with the old-school Hollywood aesthetic of the framing device.

The performances are credible given the cast’s youth, though the piece would benefit from a more intense performance from Gateley. Alex Bridges’ manipulative and melodramatic director also needs a touch more humour in his impassioned (and somewhat insensitive) search for cinematic potential in Jack’s trauma. Katherine Grigg, on the other hand, gives an excellent performance as Jack’s wife and ends up being the emotional core of the piece.

The play thunders along at an impressive pace, but its 40 minute running time can sometimes feel a little slight. Some of the best writing comes in moments of calm, such as the discussion of alcoholism after Jack’s fatal mistake. The rest of the time it can feel as if the play is rushing through the essentials of a story which has heaps of potential; the ending, though suitably scary, ends up feeling a little unsatisfying.

About a Girl is nonetheless a very impressive piece, and its catalogue of scare-inducing tricks remarkably effective. It’s a memorable story that works well as a thriller, though the writers and cast focus more on delivering a streamlined horror than fathoming the narrative’s emotional depths.

Reviews by Simon Fearn

Paradise in The Vault

Hyena

★★★★
theSpace @ Surgeons Hall

Bull

★★★
theSpace @ Jury's Inn

Broken Fanny

★★★★
Quaker Meeting House

Five Kinds of Silence

★★★★
SpaceTriplex

About a Girl

★★★
theSpace @ Jury's Inn

Procrastinate

★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

A terrifying concoction of fiction and reality, this spine-chilling horror follows the journey of a desperate man as he tries to unravel the mysterious events of his past. Prepare to be petrified by this visually stunning and immersive sensory experience.

Most Popular See More

Come From Away

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £36.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Cinderella The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Book of Mormon

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Matilda the Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Mousetrap

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets