REVIEW – The Alphabet Girl – Greater Manchester Fringe Festival (The King’s Arms)

Kaitlin Howard in The Alphsbet Girl --  Edinburgh Fringe preview  2 & 3 August   ©Lucas Smith
Kaitlin Howard in The Alphabet Girl — Edinburgh Fringe preview 2 & 3 August
©Lucas Smith
PREView at the king’s arms, salford ahead of edinburgh fringe
Upstaged Rating: 

The Alphabet Girl is a one-woman show written by award winning Renny Krupinski and performed by Kaitlin Howard, a previous Manchester Theatre Awards Best Fringe Performance winner.

Howard’s performance spans three generations of women, the blackcurrant and gin-swigging grandmother Maisie, broken and intimidating mother Lily and then daughter Ivy, who takes us through to the present day.

 ©Lucas Smith
©Lucas Smith

Kaitlin Howard is a brave, subtle and versatile actor – she plays all three characters with conviction. First on stage is Ivy who appears naive and wide-eyed, talking into a camera mounted on a tripod, she describes her mother and grandmother. A leopard print faux fur jacket later and  Howard transforms into grandmother Maisie – her face hardened and her hands shaking, ravaged by drink and bitterness. A particular highlight is Lily, a well-spoken and deeply intimidating character who addresses the audience directly and holds their gaze for slightly longer than is comfortable. And it is through this that Howard succeeds in creating a chilling, mysterious and heightened theatrical experience.

 ©Lucas Smith
©Lucas Smith

Writer and director Renny Krupinski’s script is a marvel – it is poetic, elegant and direct yet beautifully woven with hints and clues for the audience, which become shockingly significant later on in the monologue. Spanning three family generations, there is a frequent shift in chronology and viewpoint which also keeps the audience slightly disorientated, adding to the eerie and surreal atmosphere.

With a running time of 1 hour and 10 minutes, The Alphabet Girl is darkly amusing in parts, lyrically beautiful and also deeply disturbing. What starts out as a nostalgic journey through a family photo album actually reveals itself as being something far more sinister, with dire consequences.

-Kristy Stott

The Alphabet Girl is being performed at theSpaces on the Mile at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival at 5:10pm from 7th August 2015 until 29th August 2015 (except on the 16th and 23rd August).

Not going to Edinburgh Fringe?

The good news is that… The Alphabet Girl is also being performed at Oldham Coliseum from the 15th until 19th September 2015.