Fringe review: Gobby

Dark comedy Gobby is a poignantly written production by a young woman living in a post #MeToo world. ★★★ ½

Mar 10, 2020, updated Mar 10, 2020

Gobby (British slang for a person inclined to speak loudly, frequently or bluntly) is a one-woman play about self-discovery, trauma, friendship and finding a voice.

 Written and performed by Jodie Irvine, it centres around the sassy and outspoken Bri, who is trying to process an abusive former relationship.

Irvine jumps with relative ease between a number of characters, embodying the various roles in physicality and accent. She uses moments of lightness between Bri and others to break up heavier material, with her portrayal of the relationship between the two central female characters particularly touching.

The show, which follows a wave of women sharing their stories of sexual assault and abuse as part of the #MeToo movement, is timely. But while the importance of having women create and produce stories of survival can’t be understated, this script never seems to reach its full potential.

Although the play takes place over the course of five parties spread over two years, other details of time and place are less clear. Maybe if these were strengthened the work would leave a more lasting impression.

The set is an eclectic mix of party paraphernalia: party hats, poppers and balloons are strewn across the stage. Irvine cleverly uses these objects to signify multiple characters as well as to mark the end of one party and the beginning of another.

It’s easy to imagine Gobby being adapted for Netflix series. It’s quirky, timely and filled with popular culture references, making it attractive for a young, informed and socially-aware audience. But it will also be embraced by anyone who wants to support young women as they find their voices.

Gobby is being presented in Gluttony until March 15.

See more Fringe and Festival stories and reviews here.

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