REVIEW: Quarter Life Crisis (Underbelly Cowgate) ★★★★★

Quarter Life Crisis Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Last year at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, a friend of mine Katie Brennan put on a show called Quarter Life Crisis, about what it means to be 25 and reflecting on life and whether or not you feel as grown up as you should. So, when I saw that this year, a different show with the same name was on at the fringe, I was keen to go and check it out to see how it compared.

Alicia is a hot mess. She doesn’t know what she’s doing with her life. Swiping left, swiping right to find the perfect match. Even though she’s a Londoner, born and bred, the scent of Lagos peppers her existence in the ends. Everyone around her seems to know where they’re going in life, but she’s trying to find ways to cheat growing up and keep her 16-25 railcard. What does it mean to be an adult, and when do you become one?

What was most interesting was the difference between the two shows with the same name and subject matter. Both girls the same age, going through the same kind of experiences but seen through culturally different eyes. Katie Brennan’s show was a very white middle class account of student loan debt, anxiety and coming to terms with the fact she isn’t Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City. Yolanda Mercy’s version deals with being on the outside looking in, growing up as a first generation Briton. Being the common denominator between two Nigerian tribe parents and understanding the different cultures and trying to establish where she fits in to the picture.

The semi autobiographical, spoken word piece is brilliantly written and delivered with a tone and pace that keeps the audience engaged for the hour. With a nice little set and use of video projection, a lot of work has gone in to this show and it has really paid off. Yolanda Mercy is one to watch out for and I really hope we see her Quarter Life Crisis show in London soon as it really deserves a future life.

Perhaps Katie Brennan and Yolanda Mercy could combine for a double show where the audience get to experience the dichotomy of two women with the same thoughts and worries but told in two very different ways.

Reviewed by West End Wilma