Home » London Theatre Reviews » My First Time was in a Car Park is ‘a fascinating and engaging show’

My First Time was in a Car Park is ‘a fascinating and engaging show’

Mira (Molly-Rose Treves) begins with the show’s title, before telling the audience that her ‘first time’ was with a teacher. That is not to say she had relations as an adult with someone who happened to be in the teaching profession. She was fourteen years of age at the time and the man who entered her was eventually prosecuted and sent down. This, quite reasonably, repulses her every time she recalls the assault, and I would be surprised if anyone in the audience didn’t react negatively themselves.

My First Time Was In A Car Park.
My First Time Was In A Car Park.

This could easily have been a story with a focus on other people’s reactions to what happened, or the pedestrian pace with which the wheels of justice turn. There are hints of the former and nothing of the latter, with the focus instead on Mira’s internal thought processes and what is ultimately a struggle to fully get over what happened, even if superficially everything seems, give or take, okay, and she’s getting on with life. There are no therapy sessions – group or individual – to speak of, for instance, and none of the ‘woe is me’ stuff or tugging at the heartstrings in the name of sympathy.

Instead, Mira continues her education, and finishes it. Some time later, when a letter addressed to her mother from the school she used to attend arrives, it causes momentarily anger and frustration, but this is soon forgotten about as she enjoys nightclubbing on a regular basis. Without giving everything away as to what went on, it’s fair to say she probably wouldn’t continue going unless she enjoyed it. It is a form of escapism for Mira, as are some internal dialogues in a fantastical world set on the coast – she and her mother live near the sea.

The fantasy kingdom (or perhaps queendom) is brilliantly staged and provides some insights into her ‘real’ world. For instance, in a way, it is rather strange that she claims at one point to be ‘God’ (there are, I would imagine, people who believe themselves to be a deity in psychiatric hospitals), but it suggests that in reality, she feels she has little if any control over her circumstances or her ability to fully move on from her trauma. So she’s created a make-believe world in which she’s the all-present and all-knowing Supreme Being.

It’s a fascinating and engaging show, with regular reminders of the crime against the person which get increasingly harrowing as they get increasingly simple in terms of description.

Treves’ performance gets quite physical at times, in line with the character’s youthful vigour, and overall, it was easy to maintain interest throughout. I wasn’t even bothered by the singular perspective – unusually, this narrative that didn’t need a second opinion.

4 stars

Review by Chris Omaweng

‘Because the world revolves around me and ​all I see is what I see.’

Mira loses her virginity to her teacher in the ​car park at her school, she lives by the sea ​with her mum – she becomes god in the ​outdoors.

Through youthful questioning, ramblings and ​memories, Mira makes a confession. The ​play explores the varying ways that trauma ​manifests and delves into Mira’s relationship ​with her mother, lover and friends.

The Hope Theatre in Islington, 5 – 9 September 2023.
https://unzippedtheatre.com/

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