Theatre review: Delphine

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She calls her room “an Aladdin’s cave”; she collects “trinklets”; she likes music with a thumping base “for maximum spirit raising”.

Star rating: ****

Venue: Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33)

She is Delphine. Her mum, who she lives with, tells her her name is “French chic”, but Delphine likes it because it reminds her of dolphins. Delphine is 30. She’s has never had a boyfriend. She’s the kind of person who apologies simply for being there. But beneath the amiable woolliness and over-accommodating charm, something steelier lies.

Writer and performer, Clare Rebekah Pointing’s one-woman show follows Delphine over the course of her first ever relationship, with man called Bill who she clearly idolises more than he deserves. Not that logic really comes into it – no, this is a play about infatuation against all reasonable evidence and the way unattainable loved ones are often built up to be more than they actually are.

But it’s also about a kind of inner strength combined with a splash of rage that develops within Delphine as her relationship with Bill, “a quiet face”, not so much falls apart, but shuffles off into the shadows. Through her disjointed but heartfelt dancing Delphine expresses a lifetime of frustrations, brought to the surface by the tantalising promise of “feeling like everyone else” and fuelled by raw anger when this is crushed.

The moments when Delphine confronts those who belittle her – from builders on the street to the increasingly disparaging Bill – crackle with the excitement of someone fighting back. Perhaps inspired by Alan Bennett’s monologues, Pointing’s writing is funny and true, and her descriptions of love – as feeling like “all the colours” – are vivid. Delphine’s ultimate realisation, that she doesn’t have to be liked by everyone, creates an uplifting conclusion to a celebration of quiet female defiance and the thrill of romantic obsessions, however misjudged.

Until 29 August. Today 2:15pm.

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