Almost 10 (3 stars)

This article is from 2009.

Almost 10

Unselfconscious and excitable, nine-year-old Rachel is full of unaired grievances and incisive observations. Targets include her exasperating Bulgarian nanny, ‘best friend’ Hortense and young, blonde schoolteacher Miss Danielle (who the other girls only like because she ‘looks like a fairy’).

In her entertaining one-woman play, Caroline Horton navigates the daily delights and frustrations of childhood. But Rachel’s life is neither trivial nor trivialised. Adult concerns (class, race, sex, even death) filter through her childish perspective, as she lurches from difficult friendships to gleeful prank-call-making.

My sense of being trapped within the confines of Rachel’s perspective would have been greater had she (rather than the actress) ‘played’ the supporting characters when re-enacting conversations with them. In this (self-labelled) ‘monologue’, such layering might have created a delicious irony.

Nevertheless, Horton’s fidgety hands and bemused looks are spot-on. Hers is an absorbing, nuanced portrait of one impatient to be grown.

The Pleasance, 556 6550, until 31 Aug (not 18, 25), 12.55pm, £7-8 (£5.50-£6.50).

Almost 10

  • 3 stars

Nine-year-old Rachel is not sweet, not delicate and not polite. With sidekick Hortense, she's on a mission to reach double figures. Will they make it? A darkly comic monologue for adults about being a child.

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