Review: Almost Adult, Charlotte Anne-Tilley, Ed Fringe, by Hannah Goslin

 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Everyone goes through that moment in life, whether triggered by something specific and significant, leaving for University or getting your first job as an adult; flying the nest can be hard but also very exciting.

Almost Adult takes this, based on the real life experiences of the writer, and runs with the idea. Our main and only performer decides its time to become an adult and moves from the rural north to the big smoke of London. Every approach she takes is positive; new job in an immersive bar, box room with a particularly anal housemate and the search for a boyfriend like Timothee Chalamet. Everything is positive, until it is not.

Almost Adult faces the two sides of growing up; the excitement of new things and independence but also the reality of life and how hard it can be. Our character wants to not hold hands with her family and distances herself, until things turn south and she realises that being an adult doesn’t mean not asking for help. At her job, a once golden paved bar floor with dinosaur dressed workers becomes a seedy, patriarchal power trip, where sexual assault is rife from her boss. Her flat mate is maybe over clean and stressed about this but our character doesn’t have the time for the boring parts of adulthood until she accepts her own flaws and laziness.

She’s enjoyable, she dances and has a laugh with us; her impressions of different characters are clear she brings us further into the story by interaction. All the issues culminate and we see a bubbly, positive person unmasked from seeing the reality of modern day life. From a cushy, middle class family, protected from the storm, when her leg is touched by her manager, her colleague is further sexually assaulted and the female CEO won’t help, she soon realises that the feminist movement hasn’t solved the world’s problems and that there are still there, if not more.

The production felt very poignant about the realities of adulthood and life. As someone who moved alone for university and then to live in London 12 years ago, I still remember that feeling of sheer excitement to break free and be my own person but the trepidation and fear of this. I forever tried to ensure my outlook was positive, but the home sickness, some realities (though I maybe wasn’t as naive as this character in some respects) and hardness of adulthood slowly crept up on me.

With many stories from Sarah Everard, to the Me Too movement, women are sexually assaulted almost daily. It isn’t uncommon to think that with how open feminism is in the world, that things should be different. But they aren’t and it’s interesting to see the character’s turmoil with her gut feelings when her boss touches her leg compared to the more explicit assault of her colleague. And she makes excuses, as we all do, thinking that her feelings are not justified. When she is asked if she asked him to stop, this seems like the crux of the situation and the expectation is high in her to have fixed the issue. This production hits home to many on lots of different levels and that’s what makes it such a great piece.

Almost Adult is funny, it is quirky and it is endearing. But this doesn’t take away from the important issues that are never solved for women and how our eagerness as children to become an adult come from its realities which are shrouded.

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