One Year Itch, written and directed by Andrew Phipps, is a (not so) romantic comedy that follows protagonist Tania (Anca Vaida) as she struggles to navigate her work-love-life balance as a queer woman living in London. Speaking to the trails of lesbian courtship that many of us may know, the play begins with her lamenting over spinach stuck in the teeth of her underwhelming date from the night before. Comforted by her straight bestie Jayne (Iona McTaggart) who’s equally-failed love life makes them an amusingly compatible pair, Tania decides to direct her attention towards her career. She proclaims: ‘I don’t mind if I don’t have sex for an entire year – as long as I get the promotion!’.
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Yet, Tania’s vow of celibacy is humorously short-lived, and the play follows her on a further series of awkward dates. A freshly separated bisexual who wants to experiment, a pretentious posh girl with an eccentrically overbearing mother, and a chance encounter with Gillian (Kelly Craige), the ex Tania is still begrudgingly caught up on. If not enduring these woeful encounters, Tania is glued to her work-phone trying to propel her career forward. Her indecisiveness is translatable to many queer women seeking genuine love and connection whilst also running in London’s professional rat-race. Audience members too feel a sense of her emotional whiplash, although it is kept light by Vaida’s unfaltering high-energy and occasional witty delivery.
Whilst the leading lady’s vivacity is charming, one wishes to have seen more stage time for other members of the small all female and non-binary cast. Kelly Craige’s first cameo as a deadpan waitress was hilarious and both Iona McTaggart as Jayne and Jean Woollard as the outrageous mother-of-the-date brought on some of the loudest laughs. Despite this, the play makes excellent use of the intimate space and the scenes are changed with delightful disco dance breaks.
Tania just can’t make up her mind. Whilst entertaining, the constant dating chaos proves a little too much and we are left wanting further resolution – both for Tania’s peace of mind, and for our own. Yet, perhaps this was Phipps’ intention. There is comical comfort in being reminded that we aren’t alone in this never-ending dating drama.
One Year Itch, written and directed by Andrew Phipps, is currently showing at Barons Court Theatre until 13 January 2024.
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Last Updated on 13th January 2024 by Nonchalant Magazine