This Was Never Supposed To Be A One Woman Show

bipolar fantasy squad · Ages 14+ · United States of America

Content Warning one person show world premiere
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July 21, 2023 certified reviewer

What I liked

Please see the above.

What I didn't like

I was deeply impressed with the production as a whole, as my Overall Impression attests. However, towards the end of the play I felt that at least some of the closing might have been a bit overdone. By this I mean the final song and dance. It is not that it wasn’t well played, it was. But I felt that it somewhat needlessly prolonged the finish. Not nearly enough to in any way ruin the play, it’s just it didn’t feel as vital as the rest of it.

My overall impression

“This was Never Supposed to be a one Woman Show,” was a marvel of theatrical performance. Samantha Bowling, the titular “Woman,” and the solitary actor of the play was tempest of contrasts. She was at turns, resolute and irresolute. Insecure and confident. Conflicted and decisive. Poignant and uproariously funny. Bowling’s performance contained multitudes of feeling, insightful philosophic insights, wry references to pop culture, discourses on mental health particularly manic/depression, and a mastery of multiple disciplines; tap dance, musical instrument, monologue, impersonation, singing, comedy and very briefly even gymnastics. Bowling’s physicality went hand-in-hand with the themes of her performance, which included, but was not limited to; examining challenges of mental health, woman-to-woman friendship and solidarity, group dynamics, sexual assault complexities, a consideration of the origin of the color blue, fanciful discussions of the pros and cons of an afterlife via an angel made corporal, feminist critiques of patriarchy, and the use of engaging and relatable humor, much of it gloriously raunchy, to deliver the themes with entertaining precision. Rarely has a performer encompassed so many variable and seemingly disparate modes, and so effectively enraptured her audience. Bowling was the conductor who lead the audience through a performance that was emotional, revelatory, strategic, bold, candid, joyful, and unapologetically, and recognizably human. and it is Bowling’s palpable humanity that shines throughout the production, and is the quality that most pleasingly lingers.

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