The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Southwark Playhouse | Review

The Diary of a Teenage Girl
Southwark Playhouse
Reviewed on Wednesday 8th March 2017 by Olivia Mitchell

Adapted for film in 2015 and based on the 2002 graphic novel by Phoebe GloecknerThe Diary of a Teenage Girl tells the story of Minnie, a teenager in San Francisco in the 1970s and her scandalous affair with her mothers boyfriend Monroe. There's drugs, sex, drama and a whole lot of growing up. This a fresh, shocking and overall moving piece of theatre done wonderfully in the intimate space of the Southwark Theatre.

Rona Morison's fantastic performance is central to the whole production and she executes each moment with ease and brilliance that is both innocent and experienced at the same time. Morison's performance is detailed and nuanced at times and just full out in your face crazy at others but each moment and movement seems well thought out and gets the story across smoothly and inventively.

The rest of the small cast give equally as wonderful performances, working together to create a disquieting parade of unsatisfactory adults. Rebecca Trehearn's portrayal of Minnie's lost, Bohemian mother is erratic but thoughtful and her time on stage brings a freshness to the production. Jamie Wilkes as Monroe comes across as more self-loathing and alone than a sexual predator and throughout the blame for Minnie's harsh coming of age is not really placed on him. Instead the focus is on the coming of age itself. 

Cleverly mixed into the performance are projections of Gloeckner's original illustrations which are charming and witty. The story telling is powerful with the actors putting their all into each moment  and being helped along with lighting and staging. 

James Nicholson's sound is done super effectively, with uncomfortable noises accompany the harsher moments of the story and portraying the torment the characters feel.

At 90 minutes straight through, this is an extraordinary look into the dramatic development of a young woman. The audience are taken on a whirlwind ride from start to finish, full of stand out performances, humour, sadness and quirkiness. All in all its a brilliant production, extremely crude at points but absolutely wonderful and crazily enjoyable.

The Diary of a Teenage Girl is at the Southwark Playhouse until March 25th

Photo credit: Darren Bell