Yolanda Mercy’s Quarter Life Crisis is a part stand up, part spoken word show about the universal feeling of being inadequate at adulthood. It explores the meaning in both the trivialities and big questions we encounter as a slightly lost twenty-something . As well as mourning the impending loss of her 16-25 railcard, our protagonist Alicia Adewale is also grappling with the childhood experiences that are seeping into her (almost) adult life.
She is funny and her words have strong impact, though her delivery sometimes feels more suited to a straightforward stand up. Having said that, the more emotional, serious parts of the show are undeniably insightful. Mercy uses footage of the experiences of Alicia’s older relatives and clips of her father’s voice to add depth within her comedy. These two levels could work incredibly well together, humour highlighting emotion to create a rounded, nuanced show.
In some ways, they do. Mercy communicates well the ways in which the smallest of things can trigger us to question where we are in life, and when we are going to start acting like the grown up people expect us to be. Her quarter life crisis is triggered by the realisations that she no longer has access to discounted travel, and that maybe ‘A Lush Sales Assistant’ isn’t quite the career goal she has in mind. Occasionally though, the two layers of the show do not work so smoothly together, with transitions between the moods falling just short of gelling together to create full impact.
But Yolanda Mercy is undeniably a fresh comedic talent. Her interactions with the audience and impressions of irritating family members are effortlessly entertaining. She has us on side throughout, and is incredibly likeable.
The way in which her writing uses technology to tell her story is also effective. In a world where life is at least partially lived online, the screen showing cringe worthy tinder messages and text messages from friends with hilarious implications is a necessary part of telling the reality of being 25 in 2017.
What shines through in this show is the personality and emerging talent of Yolanda Mercy in herself. She is certainly one to watch out for in future fringes and beyond.
Quarter Life Crisis is playing at Underbelly until August 27. For more information and tickets, go to https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/quarter-life-crisis