Billie's a "people pleaser", a 19-year-old woman seeking "the truth" who's main life events are fresher’s week and getting kettled at a protest on the way to the opera.
Baby, What Blessings, theSpace @ Surgeon Hall, Edinburgh * * * *
Middle-class and privileged, she's all too aware of how we might dismiss her. However, "a small dose of narcissism is a good thing," she explains, because "imagine not being the main character is your own life." And, before long, you might find yourself (kind of) agreeing with her
Siofra Dromgoole's well-observed, understated monologue hides its true purpose well, one that gradually becomes apparent when Billie falls in love with Amal – the biggest thing to ever happen to her, she explains. Through Dromgoole's writing, paired with her sister Grainne Dromgoole's brilliantly straight performance, it's easy to get swept along with Billie's heartfelt excitement over her new relationship, stress about losing her own identity and worry over whether Amal's feelings for her are as strong. Amal's black, she also feels a need to point out, because otherwise we'd assume he was white like she is, yes?
It's often unclear whether the piece is a satire about young white privilege or a relatable comedy about unrequited love – and its success comes from the fact it manages to be both, with Billie simultaneously relishing the "suffering woman being honest about her experiences" narrative and freaking out when Amal turns up at her open poetry night and all of her pieces are about him.
The ending reveals the full extent of Billie's lack of awareness in a way that raises as many questions as it answers, leaving us to consider how much she is, or isn't, a part of the tragedy that unfolds. At a festival with lots of people obsessing about themselves, it's a refreshing reminder to look beyond the drama in our own heads.
Until 24 August