Are You As Nervous As I Am? ★★★ Greenwich Theatre | October 1 - 23, 2022

Are You As Nervous As I Am? is described as the journey of two sisters, but it is actually the story of the younger who is raised by an abusive mother and struggles to deal with the emotional damage of her past. Peggy (Katie Elin-Salt) becomes a successful singer but her childhood leaves her prey to unsuccessful relationships and substance abuse. Her sister (Emma Thornett) is absent from the early part of Peggy's life, but she returns to become part of her sister's entourage and suffers at the hands of Peggy's abusive first husband and from the tantrums of her unfulfilled sister who has now become a star. The story has echoes of the many films based on the lives of tormented talents. It is packed with events, but the arc of the celebrity biography is predictable. The dialogue is often heavy-handed and some of Peggy's behaviour and language does not seem to arise naturally from her character. The songs, which are often used to explicate the singer's current situations, sometimes seem too concerned with narrative, to the point of losing emotional impact. However, there are also some electrifying moments. The duet "Be A Friend" in Act II, sung by Thornett and Simon Furness as the second husband, was a definite highlight. Also outstanding was Elin-Salt's powerful rendition of "What The Hell Is It For?" Are You As Nervous As I Am? has tremendous potential, but it feels as if there is work that needs to be done. Like the leading character, who must find herself by coming to terms with her own vulnerability and whose pathway to empowerment and self-actualisation only begins as the story concludes, there is no doubt that this a show full of creativity and possibility.

Rated: ★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Pamela Raith.

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