Friday, September 19, 2008

Bye Bye Bonnie

I first met Erin, aka 'Bonnie' after seeing her in a play last Christmas at the Pavilion Theatre (where she played the fantasy hooker of a lonely man's imagination) and we were introduced by our mutual friend Neel in the pub afterwards. When the invite came to her one-woman show upstairs at the Three and Ten this week, I jumped at the chance to see her in action again. Bonnie in Brighton, written and directed by Erin's husband Guy Picot, was originally performed in 2005, and became a sell-out show at Brighton Festival in 2006, earning her the Best Female Performer Award. A diary-style account of a young Texan girl's love affair with Brighton during her gap year, it clearly comes from the heart - and I found myself wondering how many of the anecdotes might actually be based on Erin's own experiences as an American in Brighton.

Persuaded to visit Brighton by a random stranger in a park in London, and fed up with the Big Smoke, a fresh-faced backpacker abandons her original plan to travel Europe in favour of non-stop partying and 'finding herself' in the intoxicatingly tolerant and open-minded bohemian seaside resort. This may all sound like a rather cliched and worn-out premise, but Erin's animated performance and abundant stage-presence, not to mention a knock-out script, draws you in from the start. Meeting new friends at a seedy hostel, acquiring the alias 'Bonnie', getting a dead-end job in an amusement arcade, partying all night, accidentally ending up with a suitcase full of cash and ecstasy - all these adventures and more are told like chapters in a pacey novel. As expected, there are plenty of laughs, but also some genuinely tear-jerking moments. One-handers can be a tricky thing to pull off, but Erin did it beautifully, and I'm not just saying that because she's a mate. Sadly this was the last chance to see the Bonnie in Brighton, as its star will shortly be moving back to the States. We'll miss you Bonnie!

1 comment:

  1. Hello, I just want to say that I really like your blog and the way you write. It is nice to read your critical writings and all about the cultural and social life of Brighton, it is a city really exciting (sorry if I have done any language mistake, I'm spanish)

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