Could you look your teenage self in the eye and say you stayed true to yourself?
Molly Naylor worries that she can’t. Together with musician Ian Ross, her new show If Destroyed Still True merges her own retrospective on her life since school with than of a fictional young teen, dealing with her life teetering literally on the edge of a cliff as her parents split and their home falls victim to coastal erosion.
It’s a sweetly-written piece and Naylor is an open and captivating performer, but the story of teenage angst carries few surprises. The dénouement – a party in the condemned house that gets wildly out of hand – is impressively told and it is here that the pairing of Naylor’s words and Ross’ musical accompaniment works best. Elsewhere it feels a touch contrived, as does some of the technical naivety in the staging: these two should know how to use microphones.
Naylor’s corresponding biographical tale – stalking a former schoolmate on Facebook and watching as her posts descend from bourgeois bliss in B&Q to separation and singledom – has verbal grace but lacks innovation, is entertaining but without elucidation.
Ross is a likeable dead-pan foil to Naylor’s wilder insecurities and the two spar well together, generating some big laughs, but you’re left feeling that this show features them both because they wanted to collaborate on something, rather than because the show demanded it.