Many of us will have known someone like Meg. Many of us will have been someone like Meg. On the surface she’s a millennial stereotype: desperately avoiding ‘adulting’, bold in the bedroom, but afraid of clothes in the corner at night. The first half of Playing God plays almost line-for-line like a stand-up act and gets the audience squealing with laughter accordingly. Writer and performer Meg Pickup has drawn on her own experiences for this show and the details she has chosen proves that she has a real eye for humour that’s infused with authenticity. Describing a young man’s bedroom as having pancake flat pillows, giant Sport Direct mugs, and a yellowing yucca in the corner might not be novel, but it’s this recognisability that quickly gets the audience on side.
Intelligent and entertaining
About halfway through, without you really noticing, the jokes start to thin out and Meg subtly shifts the mood. Discussion transforms from the carefree joys of casual sex, and onto whether being pressured not to use protection is truly consensual. By Meg’s second bottle of wine, we get to what she really wants to talk about: what it really means to be a daughter.
So, it’s a one-woman show that’s about promiscuity, denial, and the grief of losing a loved one with whom you had a complicated relationship. So far, so Fleabag, right? But female sexuality and grief deserves more than being defined only by Phoebe Waller-Bridge. In Playing God, Pickup has created an intelligent and entertaining 45-minute monologue that is uniquely defined by her deeply personal experiences. Although she regularly describes herself as being ‘middle-of-the-road’, Meg takes us on an emotional journey that proves that there’s no such thing really.