Junk Monkey

Have you ever had an all-consuming infatuation? Have you ever lied to a crush? Have you ever betrayed your boyfriend for a woman?

Olivia Mcleod shines in her one-woman show about romantic obsession

Junk Monkey’s Olivia Mcleod has.

Told with an upbeat radiance that is hard to turn away from, Junk Monkey is a one-woman show about romantic obsession. Played by Aussie writer-actor Olivia Mcleod, our protagonist wastes no time in charting her fictionalised life story, moving back and forth through time to share the details of her first kiss, first boyfriend, earliest lesbian interlude and current Sapphic crush, May.

Intent on riding the rollercoaster of a new relationship, Olivia follows May to her Opera recital and then to the after party, with her flatmate Quentin in tow as her wingman. The quick pacing and flashback sequences do well to keep us absorbed in the action despite minimal props or staging.

Through the play’s collection of romantic anecdotes, we learn about obsession and co-dependency even while our protagonist remains addicted to validation from others. Seemingly high-achieving and capable, Olivia gives us flashes of deep anxiety that other people help distract her from. When Olivia remarks on May’s brilliance and beauty, we as viewers imagine her to be describing herself.

Revealing all her innermost desires, fears and anxieties through extended monologue, we learn that Olivia has grown up within relationships, only learning about herself in relation to others and never needing to face herself alone. The destructive behaviour here is played with a light touch, allowing Olivia the enjoyment of new love and self-discovery without forcing the writer’s message.

Beautifully told, Junk Monkey shares the struggle to maintain a sense of self in relationships, with humour and hope.

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Reviews by Laura Tucker

Marylebone Theatre

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★★★★
London Coliseum

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★★★★
The Hope Theatre

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★★★
Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose

Junk Monkey

★★★★
Underbelly, Cowgate

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★★★
Underbelly, Cowgate

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★★★★

Since you’re here…

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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

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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 £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Olivia just met the love of her life on a train. If only she can find her again. And if only her own stupid boyfriend would stop calling her. In a shameless account of 12 hours of sheer desperation, this is a new solo show about missed connections, crushing obsession, and the power of a single day. She's not insane. She's just in love. Properly, this time. For sure. 'Brilliantly comedic' **** (ThreeWeeks). **** 'A talented newcomer' (MaygansReel.com). 'Joyfully off-kilter' **** (FringeBiscuit.co.uk). 'Powerfully relatable' **** (TheatrePeople.com.au).

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