As Lois Mackie enters the theatre space there is a feeling of expectation. Best Girl presents a woman on a stage with a bench, carrying a trumpet case and flowers.
Where can this go? Well, in Annie you get the feeling the possibilities are endless. The glint of mischief and the presentation of humour is endearing. Annie is a Northern lass. When Manchester was mentioned my mind went to reconciling her accent, with Bacup and Oldham woven in I was glad that my sense of home wasn’t off piste.
Annie’s love story might be predictable, but the back story is far from it. There seems to be a self-destruct button that prevents Annie from falling completely. Jim, fortunately, was the patient, hard-core type of partner which everyone needed. Because whilst Annie poked and prodded around Jim’s story to find the button for destruction, it was Annie’s need for resolution which is necessitated.
Kayleigh Hawkins delicately directs Chistine Mackie’s writing. Ensuring the flow of humour, emotion and resilience. Annie’s story, part autobiographical not only unearths Jim’s story but also that of love and grief. Annie’s story is one of losing a father, of suicide, of war and of PTSD.
The grounding of the script, the delicacy of direction, and the steadfastness of Lois Mackie enables this production to hit and tick every box. My mind goes instantly to how I’d best like to receive this story. And whilst initially my preference was as a written story, the second half of Best Girl just melted and broke me.
The loss of a father, the damage of war, the inability to support those who deserve to be supported. Between laughter and tears, Best Girl is a beautiful story, as a one-hour monologue it captures hearts, it opens eyes.
Best Girl is at the Pleasance Courtyard as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. You can see the production at 12.05 until Monday 26th August (excl 19th).
Disclosure: This review is part of media accreditation for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. All views and opinions contained are my own.