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Review: anerdyfangirl394

Hilariously relatable – a must-see

If you've ever wondered what goes inside the heads of fifteen year old girls who write fanfiction – or if, like myself, have been one of them – then you have to see anerdyfangirl394. Actually, whoever you are, whatever your plans for the nights to come were, I strongly advise you to buy your tickets as soon as possible if you want a night off: there is no better way to cope with the cold of these dreary November days than to go to the Corpus Playroom and laugh for an hour straight about the drama of being a fifteen year old girl with a mind full of fantasies and preconceptions about what she calls ‘the simple art of lovemaking’.

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Photo Credit: Bilal Hasna

Lola Miller takes us on a journey through her teen years, intertwining extracts of the 26,689 word long 'Supernatural' fanfiction she wrote as a fifteen year old with tales of her first interactions with boys (involving searching ‘how to kiss’ on Wikihow, wearing knee-high socks to impersonate the ‘good girl gone bad’ and the proverbial ‘dick pic’). Progressively, the audience also learns more about her experience as a twenty-year old queer woman trying to navigate the waters of dating, which brings its fair share of humorous situations. She doesn’t shirk from potentially awkward audience interactions: on the contrary, she delves into the awkwardness, whether to show off her seducing techniques as a fifteen year old or to recreate, in an all-too relatable discussion, the intricacies of flirting with a woman as a woman: ‘Is she just being friendly? She kissed me. What does this mean?’

This one-woman show is cleverly written and staged in an extremely efficient manner. Rhythm is crucial to comedy, and this is a strong point of the show: everything is precisely timed; the audience is taken from one scene to the other in an instant; the whole show simply flows without difficulty. I really appreciated the fact that, although the show incorporates elements of stand up comedy, there's an actual storyline overarching the sketches. The way extracts from the fanfic are intertwined with slice of life comedy moments was brilliant.

This was helped by the changes in lighting, the clever use of space, and playing on tone and movement, which also made the show all the more dynamic, despite being focused on a reading: strangely enough, we don’t really get bored of the sappy yet terrifyingly erotic fanfiction. Some tropes recur several times in the show – notably the exaggerated enactment of the sound effects written in the fanfic – and I thought I would grow tired of it at some point, but Lola Miller acts in such a skillful manner that she hits the sweet spot of laughter everytime (I’m not even going to comment on the fact that ‘sweet spot’ designates something else entirely in the fanfic…)

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Photo Credit: Bilal Hasna

She dramatizes it with an economy of means, which makes it even more efficient. The audience was very receptive to her deadpan humour, to the dramatic pauses and stares, and to the unforgettable impromptu dance-break. The acting was very enjoyable, and I admire how she kept a straight face with all the laughter in the room. I also want to applaud her courage for being so vulnerable on stage – she even jokingly evokes her therapist’s opinion about the show.

This allowed people to relate to the what she was evoking, and perhaps realise certain things about the strange ways in which teens think about themselves, love, and sexuality. Not that every show needs to have a deeper meaning – I am a firm believer in comedy for comedy’s sake. But I did appreciate the fact that this hilarious journey into a fifteen year old’s head touched on the subjects of self image and of the exploration and questioning of your sexuality. The extracts that she reads will undoubtedly make the audience wonder why young Lola and so many other teens were writing about things they knew nothing about – spoiler alert: pinching the clitoris is not a thing, but Lola can thank her fifteen year-old self for having given her the perfect comic show material !

Before going to see the show, I was already caught by its aesthetic and the wonderful usage of social media. When I stepped into the Corpus Playroom and saw on the wall opposite me the very same ‘Sherlock’ poster that has been hanging above my bed in my old bedroom for the past six years, I knew that I would relate to this show. Still, I had no idea I would end up crying with laughter that night.

I can only congratulate the whole team – Lola Miller in particular who did an astounding job – and advise you to go see the show!

5 stars

Credit: cover photo by Jay Cheswick