The Alphabet Girl

Renny Krupinski's script is an ambitious one: chronicling the lives of one family across three generations, The Alphabet Girl aims to show the destruction of family values and the horrific effects a lack of the mother's love can have on an individual. This comes across in the show, but only just. In seeking out a larger picture, the piece overall becomes a little sloppy.

If you're here for the Alphabet Girl herself you'll be waiting for a long time.

Kaitlin Howard puts on a good performance, switching between the characters with minimalistic costume changes. Her stand-out role would be that of the middle generation, playing the thoroughly screwed-over mother and daughter superbly. Her anxiety and haughtiness contrast nicely with the grandmother's Cockney roots and the daughter's peppy attitude when recounting the family history. Howard works well to jump between the three different monologues in the play, and at the end props up a hard-to-believe twist.

For a play which has a title revolving around the Alphabet Girl, it takes the script a while to actually introduce this concept. However, when it does it comes with a twist which catches the audience completely off-guard. True, it is a dark twist, but is not alluded to or signposted in any way. This would be fine if the twist weren't so over-the-top. Instead, Krupinski's script goes from mundane to dark and twisted in thirty seconds. No amount of work done on Howard's part can compensate for the complete change in tone, although she does handle it incredibly well.

The play is overall pretty confused. When it's mundane and bitter, it does so well. When it's psychotic and twisted, it does fairly well. However, the way the two styles are mashed together is so discordant it's at risk of feeling like the show has well and truly jumped the shark. Some elaboration on the ending of the play would've been better, because if you're here for the Alphabet Girl herself you'll be waiting for a long time.

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Performances

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The Blurb

Fringe First winner 2010 with Bare, Renny Krupinski returns with 2014 Manchester Theatre Awards Best Fringe Performance winner and 2010 Dark Chat Best Actress nominee Kaitlin Howard as The Alphabet Girl. A predatory grannie, a good-at-parties mother, a shed-load of spineless male role-models and the anonymous here and now have all had a ravishing effect on The Alphabet Girl – making her the modern woman she is. Uncompromising, she's looking for Mr Right, Mr Goodbar, Mr Wonderful. She just wants love and nothing will stop her getting it. A tour de force: enthralling, poetic, compelling, mysterious, shocking.

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