Friday, July 1

Darkie Armo Girl – Finborough Theatre

Karine Bedrossian stuns in her fast-paced one-woman play. Her rollercoaster of a journey begins as a sprightly eight-year-old with a passion for dance who struggles with a lack of belonging and isolation due to her Armenian heritage. As she grows up and as her unhealed wounds take hold, she relentlessly searches for some kind of peace or fulfilment amongst chaos.

Bedrossian’s writing is excellent with witty dialogue, dark humour, and a strong narrative thread. It is almost like reading a diary, with its intimacy and unabashed truthfulness. The events are retold in an unanticipated and sporadic way, much like Karine’s buzzing character which is exciting and dizzying to watch.

She is emotionally raw and engaging without any indulgence or pretence. There is an honesty and concentration in her performance as herself as well as conveying animated depictions of the other people in her life from school friends to brothers, colleagues, and boyfriends to name a few.

Photo: Stuart Bunce

Swift changes between scenes, characters, and different versions of herself are seamless and enunciated clearly with talented direction from Anastasia Bunce. These were enhanced by the Abraham Walking Lea’s lighting design which set the tone for the scenes as well as Andy Wright’s sharp sound design. Mim Houghton’s set was a constant reminder of Karine’s childhood and it felt oddly incongruous with Karine’s adult life which was effective.

This dynamic piece addresses heavy topics and can serve as a warning to avoid narcissistic individuals and to deal with mental health issues and the autobiographical aspect of the piece really heightened the reality of it all. Bedrossian’s instinctive and unique performance as well as the educational and psychological aspects of the piece are deeply moving.

Playing until 9 July, https://finboroughtheatre.co.uk/production/darkie-armo-girl/

Reviewer: Riana Howarth

Reviewed: 17th June 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★

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