Theatre review: The Struggling Life of an Artist, C venues - C aquilla

“Enjoy the show. It’s fantastic,” says the woman tearing tickets with the teeth-gritted determination of someone who strongly identifies with its subject matter: trying to make it as a young person in the arts.

The Struggling Life of an Artist, C venues - C aquilla (venue 21)

The Struggling Life of an Artist, C venues - C aquilla, * * *

Performed by writer Xiomara Meyer and director Tamalynne Grant, it uses an imaginative mix of theatrical styles to undermine the idea that, as a female artist, you need to “fit the mould and do what you’re told”.

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Grant plays Jessica, an aspiring actress, who finds her measurements are more important than her monologues. Meanwhile, Olivia (Meyer) is a horror writer who is asked to take on a male pseudonym to get a publisher. Compromise or quit, they are told, in a piece ‘80% based on reality’. The drama works best when it avoids getting too angsty and the fun little songs would benefit from more projection and a richer musical accompaniment, but pacey scenes keep things moving.

While the career dilemmas of two relatively privileged millennials could be lazily dismissed as ‘first-world problems’, it’s hard to ignore the perhaps-not-entirely-acted tears of two young women trying find a way to do what they love, often while someone else gets paid for it.

SALLY STOTT

Until 26 August