Performed at the New Theatre, 542 King St Newtown (7th-10th May, 2014)
Neurotic? Check. Heavy gin consumption? Oh yes. Love of cats? Oh god.
Sophie (played by Eliza St John) is a 35-year-old woman you probably already know. She could be your friend, your colleague, your sister … YOU?
In V.D, written by Pete Malicki, we follow Sophie's journey from Valentine's Day to her new job, to heartbreak and trying to find herself in India.
It's a journey we are all too familiar with, but it's one that is presented here with humour, gin and a ton of energy from the lead actor, who is also really the only actor in the play. V.D has previously won 13 awards, including Best Play and Best Comedy at Short Sweet Auckland 2013 and Best Comedy at Short Sweet Brisbane 2011, so it's already been highly regarded in previous performances.
You have to hand it to Eliza St John for tackling this all by herself. During the opening scene, you're a little worried that she is blurting all the dialogue out, but the ebb and flow of the storyline – as well as her thoughts – are paced accordingly, and you'll be impressed by the use of space and props on stage, if you're not used to a one woman show performance. Eliza St John is so compelling and sassy, though, that you kind of wish she could have busted out a bit more sassiness.
Eliza St John as Sophie
But perhaps it was Malicki's writing and director Lisa Eismen's decision to reign it in a little. A performance like this could have easily turned into another "single-lady-acting-pathetic" display, and I'm not really cool with this portrayal that seems to be de riguer of any single woman story. Can't they just be normal people? Why do you have to ham up everything?
V.D makes fun of this. Instead of constant references to Sex and the City and cat ownership, our heroine is not an upper middle class woman living the fabulous life of someone with so much disposable income she spends them all on shoes. And as for cat ownership? She admits it's not her forte. Many women will relate to this story, because it's NOT just about a single woman, it can also be seen as the story of any woman making her way through the world.
The script is hilarious though. Pearlers like this line:
"Randomly gone to India coz my life sucked" and "You came here to find yourself, not be yourself" are prime examples of why it would take a firecracker character to deliver these lines well.
V.D is perfect to see on a Friday night with your girlfriends, single or not. It's a funny production, and for a one-woman show it's great – it treads the fine line between portraying my single sisters as self-destructive, pathetic, selfish idiots, which is tiresome and quite frankly a bit offensive, to simply representing a woman who is trying to make each day a little better.