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Reasons You Should(n’t) Love Me at Kiln Theatre

Amy Trigg’s one-woman play is part drama/part stand-up comedy and 100% resonant for everyone who has struggled to grow up, fit in or find love. Pacey, hilarious and emotionally powerful, Trigg enacts Juno, a young woman who (like Trigg) was born with spina bifida, faced numerous surgeries to ‘correct’ her, and comes of age in the era of dating apps.

Amy Trigg. Image by Marc Brenner.
Amy Trigg. Image by Marc Brenner.

Trigg’s turn-of-phrase is world-class – and so too is her sense of theatrical construction. Directed by Charlotte Bennett, Juno does much more than spin us a witty yarn – she takes us to multiple worlds and moments where we meet a range of characters; all of them convincing and compelling. Jean Chan’s set is clever and versatile, emulating the cardboard box Juno’s parents created to prepare their young daughter for her first MRI scan in anticipation of terrifying claustrophobia and cacophonous din. The giant box is both fetchingly cool and ragged (like Andy Warhol’s Factory) and practical. Within this set, Trigg’s storytelling – supported by Guy Hoare’s lighting and Elena Peña’s sound – brings us sometimes to a soothing cocoon where the soul can be safely exposed and other times to places where drama or comedy ensues: a car park, a lover’s apartment, a church or a disco.

Trigg’s comic timing and expressive enactment match the quality of her writing. She not only delivers an onslaught of zinging observations – describing the well-honed skill of masking disappointment ‘like a clown who has just been fired by the circus’ – but also progressively revealing the tender inner-world she has learned to defend with humour. There is not a single saccharine or sentimental note in this 80-minute work. Reasons You Should (n’t) Love Me offers both proper belly laughs along with tears – which are of catharsis, not pity.

Like all coming-of-age stories, the protagonist learns and grows, and through her, so do we. But unlike most coming-of-age stories, we get an intimate, honest and generous glimpse into being one of ‘the Sixth Form diversity poster kids’ and not being ‘part of the sex-ed story’ at school. Trigg’s repartee is so trenchant that she can accurately and laudably speak for multiple generations of women asked idiotic questions by would-be suitors. Yet, her specific experience has forced her to confront the most titanic scale of ignorance and all the feelings that go with it; including wishing you’d had the perfect comeback in the moment or being furious ‘at a world that makes us think this way’. Through Trigg, we can all find what we wish we’d said at the time and share in her anger, joy and charm. In the best theatrical tradition, we as the audience go through these feelings with her. Trigg’s work is artful in every respect; both universal and specific, this is the story of a real woman who shows us she has all the words she needs.

5 Star Rating

Review by Mary Beer

For a long time I didn’t know how it’d work.
Or what I’d be able to feel.
People would ask me if I could have sex and I’d feign shock and act wildly offended whilst secretly wanting to grab them by the shoulders and be like “I don’t know, Janet!”

Juno was born with spina bifida and is now clumsily navigating her twenties amidst street healers, love, loneliness – and the feeling of being an unfinished project.

Joint winner of The Women’s Prize for Playwriting 2020, Amy Trigg’s remarkable debut play Reasons You Should(n’t) Love Me is a hilarious, heart-warming tale about how shit our wonderful lives can be.

Kiln Theatre and Paines Plough’s

Written and performed by Amy Trigg
Directed by Charlotte Bennett; Designed by Jean Chan; Lighting Design by Guy Hoare
Composer and Sound Design by Elena Peña

08 Nov – 26 Nov 2022

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  • Mary Beer

    Mary graduated with a cum laude degree in Theatre from Columbia University’s Barnard College in New York City. In addition to directing and stage managing several productions off-Broadway, Mary was awarded the Helen Prince Memorial Prize in Dramatic Composition for her play Subway Fare whilst in New York. Relocating to London, Mary has worked in the creative sector, mostly in television broadcast and production, since 1998. Her creative and strategic abilities in TV promotion, marketing and design have been recognised with over 20 industry awards including several Global Promax Golds. She is a founder member of multiple creative industry and arts organisations and has frequently served as an advisor to the Edinburgh International TV Festival.

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