Theatre review: Loneliness And Other Adventures, Paradise in Augustines

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It would be easy to offer a cynical response to this play.

Loneliness And Other Adventures, Paradise in Augustines (Venue 152) ***

Mollie Semple writes, directs and stars in an autobiographical monologue, supported by three other actors (Chloe Lansley, Hannah Lyall and Georgia Vyvyan) whose main tasks involve hugging Semple and performing silent, co-ordinated movements to her words. Self-indulgent, much? Not to mention that Semple is barely into her twenties, yet feels she has something profound to say about love and existential angst. Who the hell does she think she is?

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Get past your cynicism, though, and you’ll find an earnest, heartfelt treatise on the importance of companionship.

Semple’s mental health concerns are nothing to be dismissed – she writes and speaks eloquently of feeling alone and fearing a lonely death, despite being fully cognisant of her own youth (and thus feeling ridiculous, which only exacerbates her self-doubt).

Lansley, Lyall and Vyvyan are also far more than Semple’s props – they embody the intimate, loving friendships that feature prominently in many women’s lives (and are sadly absent from many men’s). And each has a chance to speak up and share their own frank, personality-filled anecdotes – again, highlighting a tendency that strengthens female relationships.

• Until 11 August, 10pm