Written and performed by Bramble Wallace, Am I If? explores the perils of trying to keep afloat amidst the expectations and paradoxes of growing up as a young woman in the 21st century. Genuine and funny, the long stream of consciousness transports the audience into the mind of a 21-year-old as she bluntly tells them about her relationship with the world and exposes the general dread that comes with becoming an adult.

From the first moment when she enters with a water bottle shoved in the front of her jeans, Wallace is candid and real, voicing aloud the doubts and questions that every woman has had in her life. She combines a fresh and colourful style with comedic, light acting, but is also unafraid to show vulnerability and the rough reality of womanhood once the surface is scratched.

Spanning subjects that cover periods, laundry, feminism, and the loss of friendship in her distinctive and sincere way, the artist creates a relatable and likeable character. “We are raised to be apologetic”. Wallace muses towards the end of the piece, asking what the world wants from girls and uncovering the countless absurdities women live on a daily basis.

Wallace steps out and tells it how it is, calling out society and the patriarchy in an agile way. She tackles not shaving one’s armpits and asks if it’s perceived as simply making a statement; she questions being calm and collected all the time, only to then be chastised as overreacting and/or as being on your period when you are angry. Her no-nonsense approach is inventive and raw – breaking down the fourth wall becomes her vehicle to fully give all of herself.

Friendship — and the loss of it — plays an important part in the show. After being told that she used to live with her best friend Amber, who only recently moved out, we learn that Wallace thinks she is the cause of their fall-out. A theme rarely treated on stage, the heartbreak of losing a friend is the skeleton of this whole short play. “Friendships come and go but I don’t know if that’s okay”, she reflects, challenging the preconceived notion that friendship is relative and will never last, emphasising the singular loneliness and disconnection of a constantly connected generation. Wallace unmasks the fact that sometimes a different kind of relationship comes into your life and a friend can turn out to be more like of platonic soulmate. As she points out, there’s plenty of information on how to get over a partner, but nothing on how to get rid of a broken heart when it comes to friendship.

Am I If? is a young play that appeals to a select of audience, but it’s a defining insight on the intimate life of (not only) millennial women. With wit, comedy, and poignancy, Wallace’s account of young-womanhood is undeniably a triumph.

 

★★★★☆

Am I If? played The Lion and Unicorn on 27 August 2017. For more information or to purchase tickets for other shows in the Camden Fringe, click here.