After a sellout Edinburgh Fringe run, The Times Critics Choice comedy drama SKANK returns to the stage at the Pleasance Theatre in London. Written and performed by Clementine Bogg-Hargroves and directed by Zoey Barnes, SKANK explores the life of Kate, a young woman just trying to get through life whilst battling anxiety and insecurities. The one-woman show explores sex, worries, job dissatisfaction and health concerns in a fifty-five-minute performance.
Bogg-Hargroves truly commands the stage as Kate, as she struggles to make sense of the world around her. Feeling completely lost at her boring temp job with hopes of pursuing writing, Kate uses sex, partying and recycling to try and keep her worries at bay. The representation of the crippling impact that anxieties can have weaves throughout Bogg-Hargroves’ performance, symbolically as a nagging ringing sound as well as Kate’s various coping mechanisms like her dry humour and jokes which balance out the heavier moments of the play very well.
SKANK certainly does a brilliant job of showing anxiety unapologetically and with full force, as Kate becomes increasingly anxious whilst facing the realities of being a woman. From having a smear test to trying to navigate office politics, the clever use of voiceovers, props and lighting offers an imaginative take on these everyday experiences.
The biggest triumph of this show is how relatable it is, both in its characterisations and dialogue. We’ve all encountered a ‘Linda’, the nosey office gossip, an awkward encounter with a rude receptionist or hilariously failing to get someone’s attention with terrible dancing. Bogg-Hargroves has masterfully created a character that feels painfully real, Kate is based on her own experiences, and this certainly shines through in her writing and acting.
Beyond the laughs and crude humour, you are continuously pulled back into Kate’s anxieties, emphasising how all-consuming an anxiety disorder can be. The play injects these small tense moments throughout, and they become increasingly more heightened as Kate continues to unravel. SKANK is a play that lays these feelings bare, Bogg-Hargroves’ stellar performance moves you through a wave of emotions in just 55 minutes, from momentarily happy to suddenly sad, the show’s in-depth exploration of anxiety is admirable, moving, and memorable.
SKANK is currently playing at the Pleasance Theatre from 15th – 16th October. Tickets can be purchased here: https://www.pleasance.co.uk/event/skank-0#overview
Reviewed by: Gemma Prince
Reviewed: 14th October 2021
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★