In an age of Tinder and teenage trips to Malia, attitudes to sexuality are more liberal than ever. Phoebe Waller-Bridge tackled the subject at last year’s Fringe with her award-winning Fleabag, and this provocative new play by Bruntwood Prize winner Anna Jordan is every bit as filthy.
Leah is 15 with teenage dreams. Blonde-haired and helium-voiced, she practices her cum face and Veets. A lot. Georgie is 30 with dirty secrets. She drinks in her bedroom and hides from the sun. Fed up of temping she sacks it in, draws the curtains and sees how many times she can come to Homes Under The Hammer. Before long, she lands herself a job in a lap dancing club. But what starts as idle inquisitiveness soon unravels into something altogether more disturbing.
The two perspectives on sex are told in parallel monologues. This form is nothing new but it’s well-written and well-executed, with Jordan capturing the Lambrini-soaked malaise of youth with rare precision. Although their stories are constantly pitted against one another, the relationship between the two characters only really reveals itself in the play’s closing moments. This entails that the final scene takes a while to take hold. But once it does it’s dead emosh, with Jordan demonstrating a tenderness to match her wry wit.
April Hughes is button-nose cute as Leah, fresh-faced and flustered in the face of a catalogue of new experiences. Lia Burge is probably cast slightly older than her playing age, but she plays up well and her Georgie is a cynical foil to the naïve Leah.
The sight lines at Assembly Studio 5 are appalling and the production is sometimes guilty of trying too hard to be contemporary, particularly during the transitional moments. But Freak is a frank new play by a fresh young voice.
Freak is at Assembly George Square Studios (Venue 17) until 25 August. For more information and tickets visit the Edinburgh Fringe website.