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Review: That Girl, at Old Red Lion Theatre

Tinder dates, rubbish takeaways and hipsters, in play about a former child star's millennial life in the city

07 September, 2018 — By Alina Polianskaya

Hatty Jones in That Girl. Photo: Sunny Smith

THAT Girl is a painfully accurate depiction of millennial life in the city that is both comedic and thought-provoking.

Hatty is a normal 20-something who works in advertising and lives in a shared house with friends. She was also the child star of 1990s movie, Madeline, who has since faded back into normal life. The play’s star, Hatty Jones, shot to fame as Madeline aged 10, so it is partly based on the actor’s real childhood experiences.

With a talented cast of three, it highlights the mundaneness, monotony and hypocrisy of daily life – Tinder dates, rubbish takeaways, talk of hipsters and plenty of cultural references make it completely relatable.

Much of the play is set in Hatty’s house as she prepares to move out, with a few bits of mismatched furniture and stacks of cardboard boxes for set dressing, and pyjamas as a costume. The ordinariness is a stark contrast to the actor’s glamorous past, which she is constantly reminded of when people ask: “Don’t I know you from somewhere?”

The play explores old friendships and what happens as people get older, meet partners and no longer have to time for old pals.

It also delves into Hatty’s own anxieties as a young woman struggling to deal with change, which she portrays bravely with a vulnerability that is both endearing and at times difficult to watch.

From pouring her heart out to her friend’s boyfriend, to sitting alone in the dark, watching Madeline and mouthing the words back, reminiscing, the intimate venue adds to the claustrophobic feeling.

There is also comedy, enhanced by strong performances from co-stars Alex Reynolds as Hatty’s teacher/blogger flatmate and Will Adolphy as the love interest.

One highlight is an awkward date where the most exciting things they have to talk about are tube delays, gym sessions and avocado on toast. It is a conversation that is probably had countless times around London daily and is the sort of irreverent honesty at the core of this play.

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