Susie Sillett has always disliked women, she explains. It comes from growing up in a household of men, where she had to fight for attention and to keep up with the others. She charts the journey of her young life for us over the course of forty minutes, explaining her personal journey, from fairly determined misogynist to proud feminist.
There is a quiet confidence in her presence onstage and she is clearly comfortable in front of an audience, putting them at their ease.
Sillett’s story is very simply told. Delivered as a long, chronological monologue, it is like we are new acquaintances visiting Sillett at home and have asked Sillett to tell us about her life. She picks up clothes from the floor and packs them away in a suitcase as she speaks. There is a quiet confidence in her presence onstage and she is clearly comfortable in front of an audience, putting them at their ease. At only one point does her story get emotional enough for her to need to stop folding her clothes and take a seat. But even then, there are no histrionics: Sillett quietly draws the audience in with her soft, poised voice. The small space is advantageous, offering a helpful intimacy to the show.
Whilst this simplicity of performance is very powerfully utilised, some sections of Sillett’s story could have stood to be more theatrical. Forty minutes is a long time and whilst Sillett mainly managed to hold her audience’s attention, there would have been ways to further enhance the production. Overall, the show has a fairly consistent, thoughtful mood to it and it would have been desirable for the audience (and performer) to be shaken out of this mode now and again. Furthermore, while many sections are compelling, other sections, such as the details of early teenage friendship groupings, feel more pedestrian and could have been reduced or cut entirely. Sillett’s feminist revelation could also be reworked – again, there are interesting aspects to it (Sillett spent one semester of university passing as a man, for example) but it felt reasonably impersonal after the intimate details we had been privy to previously.
Generally, this feels like a fairly fresh, new show. Sillett is an intelligent and confident writer/performer well worth watching, and with further development, I am certain I’m Not Like Other Girls would be a highly successful production.