Written and performed by Victoria Rigby, Girl From Nowhere follows the journey of Jeannie, a small-town girl who has dreams of escaping her wholesome roots for the excitement of the 1960s rock n’roll scene. Her story is told as a tape recorder confession from the bedroom of her childhood home, though why she is living at home and who the message is for are facts not revealed until the concluding minutes of the show.
Rigby has clearly written a part for herself that she is very comfortable in, and as Jeannie she displays just the right amount of both vulnerability and hard nailed ambition to win the hearts of her audience. There is a subtle feminist angle to the story that excellently conveys the frustration felt by women in the late 60s who had no urge to fulfil societal norms of domestic motherhood.
Watching the production in 2015, it highlights the pressures that are still felt by some women to get married and have children. That being said, there is more to Girl From Nowhere than being a mouthpiece for feminism. We empathise also with Jeannie’s teenage desperation to escape the limitations of a wholesome childhood, and the confusion of being part of a supposedly sexually liberated generation. This urge for escape, told in retrospect, is neatly punctuated by shouts from her mother in the present moment to stop making so much noise. The mystery of why she has returned is thereby given extra weight by the claustrophobia of staying within her room whilst equally having nowhere else to hide.
One of the running themes throughout her story is Jeannie’s love of music, and as she intermittently performs songs we see how music has been for her; both a form of escape and a tool for empowerment. The moment when she defies her strictly country music-playing boyfriend to perform a rock number is a delightful discovery of her own independence.
There are certain elements in Girl From Nowhere that don’t ring true. It seems slightly implausible, for example, that musical success would come so easily for Jeannie. And whilst the conversations with her mother are a neat device, having a recorded voice detracts somewhat from the stripped back nature of the production. That being said, with lovely understated direction by Whitney Mosery and a confident performance from Rigby this is a show that deserves to do well. 4/5
Review written by Holly Kilpatrick.
Girl From Nowhere is currently showing at the Pleasance Courtyard as part of this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival until Monday 31st August. For more information on the production, visit here…