Lizzie Boone (played by Selina Helliwell) is in therapy and we are about to find out why. From bullying at primary school to sexual assault in sixth form, it is clear that her experiences as a child have shaped who she is today. Through a mixture of conversations with her therapist, Marie (voiced by Carla Kayani-Lawman), and a series of flashbacks to key moments in her life, we get to know Lizzie, a quirky, and if I’m honest, somewhat irritating, character.
Selina Helliwell makes Lizzie seem likeable, despite some of her more questionable choices, and you find yourself really rooting for her happiness. There were some moments where the play really gripped, especially during Lizzie’s description of how she reacted to finding another woman flirting with her boyfriend – her conflation of this with the sexual assault she experienced had real pain and depth. A burlesque performance mid-show was also compelling, possibly the only time that Lizzie looked totally free from the weight of her past.
Whilst the show was entertaining, I don’t feel like I saw anything unique or different. Monologues about sexual assault and mental health have been en vogue in fringe festivals over the past few years and I felt like it was a show I’d seen done before several times in slightly different ways. Whilst I completely believe in the importance of theatre when it comes to discussing difficult topics, I am not sure what this particular show added to the discussion.
Overall, however, it was a fun evening’s entertainment and for that reason I would say it’s worth a visit.
Review by Emily Gami
What do you get when you combine a wedding ring, burlesque and Pacman?
Well, if you’re Lizzie Boone, you might get therapy…
From the multi-award-winning Selina Helliwell, ‘The Formidable Lizzie Boone’ will pull you into Lizzie’s world for a night of drama, healing and dark humour. Centred around a therapist’s office, this one-woman show explores the intricacies of humanity through a woman who loves vodka with lemonade and a cat called Lionel. With lively voice-overs and a burlesque dance sequence, this play is bursting with soul and humanity.
3rd-4th December 2021
Hen & Chickens Theatre
109 St Paul’s Road
London N1 2NA