Anyone growing up in the nineties may have missed out on iPhones and social media to get them through their formative years, but they did grow up to an awesome soundtrack. Naomi Sheldon’s Good Girl has been a runaway success at both Edinburgh Fringe and VAULT Festival, before making a West End transfer to Trafalgar Studios.
Sheldon’s hour long monologue, which she also performs, charts the childhood of GG, a good girl who is just trying to fit in. The theme of inequality floats to the surface almost immediately, GG is being forced to swim the final lap in the County swimming relay championship, it’s her punishment for being caught kissing Johnny in the dressing room, but Johnny received no such punishment.
As rage bubbles through the young GG, she finds herself becoming more and more detached, and she goes from feeling too much, to feeling nothing. Her skin no longer able to contain her insides, as she describes it. We can recognise this now as depression, but as Sheldon reminds us, this was the nineties.
Sheldon’s performance is absolutely wonderful, I found myself utterly captivated in her storytelling. She appears totally at ease, happily engaging her audience with the numerous events and characters which have shaped GG’s life. Her descriptions of the girls who make up her friendship group are brief, but we immediately get the measure of each of them, helped along by the superb characterisation which Sheldon lends them.
In the main, Good Girl is fantastically funny, and Sheldon has her audience roaring with laughter with each perfectly crafted one-liner, or in some cases, just a look, or glance in a certain direction. Considering Sheldon barely moves from one spot for the entire hour, she manages to employ a wonderful physicality throughout.
In the latter portion, the story takes a slightly darker twist and it is here that all of Sheldon’s earlier hard work pays off, because the audience have already, in this short time, grown to love the character.
Good Girl takes a story that will feel very familiar to lots of people, it’s about the everyday peaks and troughs of growing up, but Naomi Sheldon injects so much personality in to the piece, that it’s impossible not to be totally swept up in it all.
Photo Credit Felicity Crawshaw