Shedding a Skin review, Soho Theatre: Amanda Wilkin is a sensation as a woman on the brink of a breakdown

Winner of the Verity Bargate Award, this one-woman play explores the depths of inter-generational relationships

Isobel Lewis
Thursday 24 June 2021 08:07
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<p>Amanda Wilkin in ‘Shedding a Skin'</p>

Amanda Wilkin in ‘Shedding a Skin'

Myah is trapped. She’s trapped in a job she hates and a body she’s not comfortable in, with a rapidly dwindling pool of friends. And she’s trapped, centre-stage, in a column of green light, telling us about it. “I would rather be anywhere else in the world right now than right here,” she says, face frozen in a clown-like, distorted grin.

This is the opening scene of Shedding a Skin, Amanda Wilkin’s new one-woman play at the Soho Theatre. The winner of the Verity Bargate Award, the show centres around a thirtysomething woman on the brink of a nervous breakdown (played by Wilkin), who finds herself floating from thing to thing without a relationship, career or purpose. That is, until she moves in with Mildred, an elderly Jamaican woman looking for a lodger.

As Myah, a character dressed in baggy clothes to keep anyone from truly looking at her, Wilkin is a total sensation. Her facial expressions are the driving force behind the show, while her low and throaty laugh underscores each scene with an infectious delight. Wilkin has immense command of her body as a physical performer, folding herself in half as she stoops to Mildred’s height or circling a chair as she recalls the excruciating memory of getting squished in a revolving door with her boss. When she voices other characters – her friends, exes, Mildred herself – she brings them into the room.

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