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Review: Shedding a Skin, at Soho Theatre

Assured one-woman play explores life for a young, mixed-race Londoner today

01 July, 2021 — By Lucy Popescu

Amanda Wilkin as 30-something Myah in Shedding A Skin. Photo: Helen Murray

A WORTHY winner of the Verity Bargate Award, Amanda Wilkin’s one-woman play is a delight from beginning to end.

Thirty-something Myah (Wilkin) pokes her head out from behind a screen and greets us in a small rectangle of light: “I would rather be anywhere. Anywhere else in the world, right now. Than right here,” she tells us.

Myah has just lost her job after objecting to a company photograph faking a diverse workforce. She explodes and walks out. She leaves her unsupportive boyfriend the same day and is forced to move out of the boat they share. Unable to bear the shame of returning to live with her parents, Myah answers an ad and moves into a tiny 15th floor flat with an elderly Jamaican woman called Mildred.

Shedding a Skin explores life for a young, mixed-race Londoner today. Myah navigates casual racism in the workplace, a sense of disconnect from everything and everyone around her, and loneliness. She discovers she has a lot to learn from Mildred about shedding what is no longer of use to her and acting with courage.

With Mildred’s help, Myah learns to rebuild her confidence and her life.

Punctuating Myah’s story are short interludes. A voiceover describes small acts of kindness and bravery from around the world which challenge racism and disrupt the status quo; moments of connection, elsewhere.

Gradually Myah recovers a sense of her identity and learns the importance of community and supporting one another. As Myah heals and sheds a layer of skin she has outgrown, she tears down layers of Rosanna Vize’s inventive set, allowing the stage to expand and the space she exists in to grow.

Wilkin has the kind of smile that lights up a room and her joyful, pitch-perfect performance in Elayce Ismail’s assured production does just that.

Don’t miss, or catch the live streamed performance on July 15: sohotheatre.com/shows/shedding-a-skin-live/

You won’t be disappointed.

Until July 17
Box office: sohotheatre.com

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