Rosie Day’s one-woman play takes teen pain seriously. In a blank bedroom washed in lilac, this coming-of-age story deals not just in rite-of-passage angst but also in a roll call of traumas: grief, eating disorders, self-harm, sexual assault. This is not so much the klutzy call-to-arms it’s advertised as but a story of vulnerability covered by sarcasm and bravado.

Day, who performed the play at Southwark Playhouse in 2022, was compelled to write it after reading that one in four teenage girls in the UK self-harm. Now confidently performed in the West End by Bridgerton star Charithra Chandran, the sincere yet unevenly paced show – directed by Georgie Staight – uses teenager Eileen’s twisting journey as a platform for outrage and exhaustion.

We are introduced to Eileen’s startlingly dry humour with her account of her sister’s death by yorkshire pudding – or rather, we soon discover, by the result of years dealing with anorexia. Asked if she has considered what her sister would want to be reincarnated as, she replies instantly, glaringly: “skinny”. With Taylor Swift references and the suggestion that 90s movie Clueless “came out 60 years ago”, we never forget this is a teenager talking to us. Chandran’s performance is believably bratty, Eileen grumpy and hopeful and aching to be noticed. When she talks about her big sister, she glows. When the struggles pile up, all in one hefty go, rage simmers just beneath her skin.

For all that she rolls her eyes at her hapless parents and disappointing friends, she lets us into her confidence and memories. It’s the details of these, and Chandran’s energetic performance, that make the monologue so warm. But the well-behaved staging does not challenge her. Written as a letter and contained to the pink-lit room with simple play-by-play action, it tells more than shows, and towards the end veers into a list of feelgood platitudes. Dan Light’s video nails the faux-nostalgic aesthetics of a teenage diary, but pre-recorded scenes do a lot of heavy lifting, robbing Chandran of the chance to stretch into all the roles around her. The production longs for a little more of the wildly ambitious, teen-fuelled nihilism promised in the title.

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