SKANK is a comedy/drama which explores the life of twenty-something Kate, a woman trying to make sense of a banal world, whilst trying to keep her inner anxieties at bay. These underlying heightened anxieties become more overt during the fifty-five minute performance, taking over the narrative and character tropes just like these worries have taken over Kate’s own life. SKANK is written, performed and co-produced by Clementine Bogg-Hargroves, directed by Zoey Barnes and produced by Future Artists. The one-woman show is a welcome tale to capture the imaginations of the Brighton Fringe, and is going from strength to strength, with a run at the Chiswick Playhouse starting in September.
The premise of the play is quite simple: Kate, a young woman who is smart, pretty and considered desirable, is lost in life. She is attempting to survive her dull office temp job (and her co-workers for that matter), find her life’s purpose following on from her Masters’ (which she hopes is that of a writer), and form romantic attachments, all in order to drown out the sounds of her inner unease. To put her anxieties at bay, Kate chooses a life of meaningless sex, partying and attempting to do her bit for the planet by recycling. Another excellent coping mechanism of Kate’s is her shrewd humour and dry sarcasm, which offer many laughs, balancing out the far heavier subject which becomes more and more apparent as the play goes on.
At its crux, the lasting impact of this one-woman show is its no holds barred look at what true anxiety can do to a person. SKANK is most definitely a play for anyone who enjoys Fleabag, with the character of Kate continuing to evolve the character trope of the anxious, self-destructive young woman.
The play delves deeper than expected into the truly debilitating impact that heightened anxiety can have on a person. Throughout its runtime, it successfully and honestly represents experiences like that of being a young woman in a GP surgery, the realities of a smear test, the triviality of the trendy coffee shop, a crafting class and of a seemingly pointless office job. The fact this show is a one-woman performance in no way hinders its imaginative take on staging and dialogue, thanks to its use of props and pre-recorded sound.
Between crude moments, sarcasm, great humour and dry wit, every now and then, we are plunged back into the depths of Kate’s anxieties. The play offers quick quips about the realities of how debilitating and existential an anxiety disorder can be. SKANK is a play that is highly relatable and timely for the younger generations, with its frank exploration of anxiety making the show admirable and all the more earnest with its endeavours.
SKANK is playing The Warren until 2 July 2021. For more information and tickets, see Brighton Fringe’s website.