Amateur Girl

Published February 19, 2014

What’s it all about?

Loneliness. Abuse. Victimhood. It’s the story of Julie, an auxiliary nurse who lives alone with her cat, enjoys clubbing and, in her own words, is a little bit crazy. Except, of course, everything she does is in a desperate search for the love and affirmation she didn’t get in childhood, when she received far more sinister attention.

When her latest beau suggests publishing a couple of risqué pictures she is sold on his privacy-busting plan by the promise of love and money. The reality is a spiralling descent to rock bottom.

Who’s in it?

It’s a one-woman show, so former EastEnders and The Bill actress Lucy Speed carries the production on her shoulders. Her performance positions the audience somewhere between a close friend and a therapist, as she chats about life, work and amateur porn, exposing horrors then swiftly trying to apologise for them, justify them or sweep them under the carpet.

There’s a heartbreaking hollowness to her Julie, the sense she’s been through so much that there might not be much beneath the cheery, crazy veneer. She deftly captures the lack of self-worth that so often accompanies victimhood.

What should I look out for?

The moments when Julie’s story moves from depressing to as black as her knee-high boots. There are a couple and they have a powerful kick.

In a nutshell?

Speed illuminates the hollow heart of one of life’s eternal victims.

What’s being said on Twitter?

@DionFarnes: @Lucyspeed fantastic performance tonight, thoroughly enjoyable, must see. #AmateurGirl

@GilesCroft: Amateur Girl @St_JamesTheatre last night was really excellent with @Lucyspeed brilliant as ever.

Will I like it?

At 70-minutes long, it’s a short journey down a bleak, murky road that probably has more to say about loneliness and victimhood than it does about the lure of pornography. If you like your drama short, stirring with a dark shock or two, this is for you.