Jessica Ramsbottom is thirty, child- and husbandless and stuck in a retail shop without career prospects. When she is not out speed dating or meeting people off dating websites, she spends her time on her big red sofa with a glass of wine. Sophie Osborne, who also wrote the piece, is the sole performer, besides some recorded voice overs. Osborne puts her all into it, and together with Bejamin Lee who manages light and sound, she makes the most of the stage given to her and uses props effectively to create situations and atmospheres. The groovy 80s soundtrack helps to create poignant moments.
“Kissing Frogs” started as a short monologue for a slam and was then extended. The plot that unravels works, but it becomes apparent that there is not quite enough material to make the show laugh-out-loud funny. The problem is that while Osborne effectively paints a picture of modern female life – ice cream and wine in a onesie, embarrassing one night stands, pushy friends, cringe-worthy online dating messages – she never goes beyond that. The play appeals to “we’ve all been here” sympathy, and truly, we have…I just need to open one whatsapp group conversation with my friends and I basically have her show on my phone. If the audience hasn’t been there, they sure have seen a different rendition of it in endless romantic comedies. To state “I’m thirty and single” in this day and age is simply not enough anymore to ensure hilarity; it has to be an original, witty or less predictable way of saying it. Sophie Osborne is a charming performer, I’d love to see a standup show or a shorter monologue of hers – or this play in a slightly rewritten form that does less stating of the obvious and wins its audience over with cleverer observations.
Reviewed by Lisa Theresa Downey-Dent