Joy Donze : 13 & Not Pregnant

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Greenside @ Infirmary
Aug 4-26 (20.50)

Script: five-stars.png Stagecraft: four-stars.png Performance: five-stars.png

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Joy Donze has brought a relentlessly energized piece of one-woman, or rather one-teenage-girl, theatre across the Atlantic which transcends genres. I have seen my fair share of comedians this & Fringes past, few of which could match 13: And Not Pregnant for laughs – Joy Donze is absolutely hysterical. Her faces, her voices, & the sheer accuracy of the teenage love-angst contained in her diary if, ever published, would form part of a new self-confessional trinity alongside Adrian Mole & Bridget Jones. The son, the mother, & the holy ‘who-do-I-love-the-most?In a recent interview with The Mumble, Joy describes her show as featuring;

Verbatim journal entries from my 6th grade diary. I always knew I wanted to turn my diary into a theatrical piece, and began working on it in a solo performance class in 2015

IMG_20170809_205358937.jpgSo this is real life, & that’s what makes it beautiful. Joy Donze grew up in Perryville, she describes as being ‘located an hour and a half outside St. Louis. In other words, I’m from the heartland of America. The corn and the cows and the caves,’ & whether she has stuck to the same names or not (hello Stacey & Justin R if you exist) like a Homeric story-teller she brings them all to life in her arcane bedroom, from her antics down at ‘Wall-Fart’ to being kicked out of the Community Pool. Along the way, as she clutches her diary – or flings it to the floor in a screaming tantrum – we follow her love-gains & heart-losses from crush to crush. ‘I want a boy, an older boy?’ she sighs, then changes tack by praying ‘God, please let me be good at volleyball’ 

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Watching Joy is like driving down an empty motorway on a summer’s night, in the fast lane, with your full beam on, listening to some bangin’ tunes. For the whole show! When I came to mark Joy, performance & script were easy touches – both were amazingly hilarious & animated with the reality of teenagerdom being eked out on the spot, rather than a nostalgic & hazy retrospective. As for stagecraft, we are offered a plain, not even so authentic a representation of a teenage girl’s bedroom, but stagecraft is not all about aesthetic, there is blocking & movement too & it is the way Joy commands her set, leaping on chairs, boogieing to rock tunes, staring the audience in their eyes, that beefs up the score, & I am happy to give the girl five stars. Here we see two time-divided Joys – the teenage archivist & the accomplished adult performer – segued together into theatre of unadulterated & contraputal perfection… as all those giving her a standing ovation at the show I witnessed would surely agree.

Reviewer : Damo

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Posted on August 10, 2017, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Everyone asks…”Have you seen the show”. No not yet, but my wife Anne has seen her perform in both Chicago and New York. I am not sure I need to actually see it…I lived thru it. I am Joy’s dad.

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