Bj McNeill

Review: GOOD GIRL at Trafalgar Studios

Naomi Sheldon - Good Girl - Trafalgar Studio (photo by Felicity Crawshaw) Naomi Sheldon stars as GG in her writing debut GOOD GIRL, a feminist journey from 1995 to the present day. The show could benefit from more creative direction, yet it remains an ardently acted one-woman piece that beckons the audience to question; why are women forced to fit in, be good or behave? GOOD GIRL begins to explore the isolation that we face from not always being exactly like everyone else.

Welcomed into the theatre by the sounds of ABBA, the first of many catchy pop tunes the piece features, Sheldon shortly after takes the stage. She stands on a wide circular gold plinth and opens bright, energetically and plays to her comedic strengths; here we first meet GG. Sheldon’s GG is likeable & engaging and holds this energy through the entirety of the show.

The writing creates some detailed imagery and Sheldon makes it vibrant which feels appropriate for the mostly youthful 90s setting. References to platform shoes, Michael Jackson, Casper and The Craft are injected which set up scenes of 90s youth accurately and resonate with the mostly millennial crowd. The piece is a true coming of age journey reminiscent of 90s film NOW AND THEN. We are offered truthful feminist moments of female friendship, bonding and exploration in the comparing of smells, orgasms and vaginas…and having to put up with ‘boys drawing dicks on everything!’

Sheldon runs a tight performative ship interchanging between her younger self and her surrounding group of friends effectively and honestly however a s a whole the piece had a lack of direction and little creativity or physical exploration was offered to the actress . The writing referenced GG b eing unhinged, too intense or whore-like but t hose darker more extreme elements were n ever fully explo red on stage . There was no push to physically soulfully and viscerally explore these potentially more empowering themes from the guts to the fingertips. This could have given the show more depth.

In parts the form had moments of undiscovered potential : GG questions ‘What would Madonna do ? ’ soon after the song Girls Gone Wild starts to play… Perhaps this was an opportunity to explore what GG thinks Madonna would have done in an adverse emotional situation or perhaps even if she just went wild! Again when GG questions ‘ What happens if no one in the world feels this much’ , a beautiful sentiment but w hat does or could having your feelings break beyond your physical body look like? The direction cuts itself short.

GOOD GIRL deserved much more creative study to add potential range, layers and depth to the piece, however I left the theatre imp ressed by Sheldon’s performance. She is her best as she closes the show and during a humorous and heartfelt teenage memory where we are thrust onto a friends pink carpet for a tribe like death of a guinea pig complete with pink candles and death pillow. She yells ‘ love, love, love’ and we hear her.

Good Girl tickets