Trafalgar Studios, London – until 31 March
Naomi Sheldon’s monologue makes its way to West End after Fringe runs at the Old Red Lion and Vault Festival. It is an exceptional piece of work that has not only made me consider the power of monologue but what it feels like to be a woman.
Good Girl is a piece full of sensory triggers; the feeling of being underwater, the smells of her close friends but the overall sense of not belonging and seeking validation for reasons she never understands.
GG’s story from 1996 to 2018 looks primarily at her relationship with herself; her intensity, her anger, her orgasms and eventually the numbness that overrides those feelings. Sheldon doesn’t try to explain GG’s actions as anything more than being a girl/woman. There’s no attempt to suggest she is neurologically a typical or even an in-depth look at why she craves validation from older women (her mother is never mentioned at any point and it isn’t a big deal) whilst also fearing what boys may think of her.
Sheldon’s strength is her characterisation, she doesn’t overwhelm with characters so she can give her all to them, from the tall, slightly butch best friend, to the Northern female teachers and even her father and men in her life. As a performance, it is very similar to Adam Rowley-Scott in This is Not Culturally Significant and whilst I am delighted Sheldon is developing this story into a film I do worry its charm will be lost if it employs an ensemble when Sheldon is more than capable of doing it all herself.
The story is presented in such a fun way; her cheeky looks to the audience, the relish in which she re-creates the period where she kicked boys in their balls with a gradual darker tone as she gets older, more promiscuous and loses close friends because of her actions. It doesn’t conclude with a happy ending, GG has accepted who she is, has coping mechanisms and it is a shame that the rest of world doesn’t know what to do with her or the many women like her.