‘Frigid’ Is A Coming-Of-Age Comedy Delivered With A Healthy Dose Of Nostalgia: Review

image for Frigid
Image for Frigid

Frigid takes place in the early afternoon, although it certainly doesn’t feel like it. Walking up the stairs to Iron Belly, we can hear upbeat music, supplied by Ciarán Gallagher. The combination of this and the theatre’s dark lighting transports us into a teenage disco, where the show takes place.

Niamh O’Reilly (Rosa Bowden) is 14 years old and she hasn’t been kissed. Her friends are determined that tonight that will change. Armed with big hair, a short skirt and copious amounts of Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse, they decide she is finally ready to lose her “frigit” status. But is that really what quiet Niamh wants?

Bowden has the audience captivated by her storytelling. She flips between characters effortlessly and brings each one alive. There is a huge contrast between Niamh pacing the stage panicking that she hasn’t met “the one” yet at the grand age of 14, to the gormless teen boys in her classroom whom she cannot even imagine kissing, but each one is hilarious.

Gallagher’s DJ set is filled with high-energy tunes from the 2000s which are played at key points in the show, and he occasionally addresses the audience too. While useful in setting the scene, it doesn’t so much play a role in the show: the microphone quality is poor, so it’s hard to make out what he is saying.

We cannot help feeling sorry for Niamh. We really connect with her, and in a way, she represents our younger selves. Watching her experience rejection, both from boys and her friends, almost feels personal. It’s a shame to see her swept up by peer pressure, and pushed into a situation she clearly doesn’t feel ready for. As an adult, it’s great to watch her character development, as she realises that one day, this disco won’t even matter, and there is no rush to grow up: it’s something that I’m sure we all wish we could go back and tell our younger selves. While predictable, the ending is sweet, and it’s particularly satisfying to see that her first kiss isn’t a complete disaster.

Packed with jokes, great storytelling, and a healthy dose of nostalgia, Frigid is an ideal way to kick off your Fringe.

Frigid will be performed at Underbelly, Cowgate – Iron Belly at 12:40pm from 8-27 (not 14) August as part of Edinburgh Fringe.

Words by Ellen Leslie

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