SKANK

SKANK is about a woman in crisis. Writer and performer Clementine Bogg-Hargroves delivers a character study about health anxiety, job dissatisfaction, and looking for love. Or rather, looking for hookups (preferably with Sexy Gary from work). Her protagonist is a jaded 20-something who has found herself stuck in a boring job, no closer to achieving her dreams, living with her brother, and crucially, unhappy.

blisteringly authentic

Other characters are only ever heard as voiceover, which poignantly isolates Bogg-Hargroves on stage. Fortunately, she is more than capable of carrying the one-woman-show, and nails every scene in turn. We like and sympathise with the character from the moment she opens her mouth, and at no point afterwards is she anything less than mesmerising. Whether this is in spite of or because of her often scandalous conduct is up for debate.

Make no mistake, this is a play with no holds barred. We watch a smear test, we hear a scathing review of a sexual encounter, we witness intentionally terrible dance moves. In other words, we are allowed blisteringly authentic access to all areas of a character’s life. Reading in the programme that the writing is inspired by personal experience makes it feel all the more intimate.

Even if that weren’t the case, the dialogue is so well-observed that it would be difficult to find someone who couldn’t relate. Afterall, who hasn’t had an awkward meeting with their boss or been affronted by a catty receptionist? There are more laughs in SKANK than many pure comedies can lay claim to, and most of them come from Bogg-Hargroves’ perfectly timed reactions to these wittily depicted situations.

But beware of the humour! The true masterstroke of SKANK is to get you laughing and then hit you in the gut with revelations that are worthier of tears. The effect is deliciously devastating.

Nothing is perfect, and SKANK is no exception. It is entirely possible to gripe about the loose threads which the plot never resolves or returns to, and the excessive ambition of focussing on so many themes at once. Yet it’s also true that these discrepancies elevate the play’s realism. People do struggle with multiple things at once. Episodes of our lives are left unresolved. It is because the plot doesn’t end neatly that it feels like such a painfully accurate slice of life. Besides, no amount of nitpicking could change the fact that Bogg-Hargroves can single-handedly move you through more different emotions in 60 minutes than you might even think possible.

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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.
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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Skanks just wanna have a clean bill of health, the adoration of the public and some decent recycling facilities. Kate could be a successful writer, if she could just concentrate. Instead, she needs to recycle this bean can, shag sexy Gary and stop obsessing about her inevitable untimely death. Clementine Bogg-Hargroves 'delivers a tour-de-force performance' (Number9Reviews.blogspot.com) in this witty, dark and often filthy one-woman show. It'll make you laugh and then it'll make you cry. 'This is seriously funny one-woman stand-up' (BrightonSource.co.uk). 'Brutally honest **** (NorthWestEnd.co.uk). 'A constantly funny play' (BritishTheatreGuide.info).

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