Review: NOT A VERY GOOD STORY by May Jasper

A confession, a sacrifice and an unexpected love story

By Myron My

Let’s get to the point: Not A Very Good Story is not a very ‘good’ story. Not A Very Good Story does not have a strong, confident protagonist. Not A Very Good Story is not told well. But it is for all of these reasons that Not A Very Good Story is in fact, a very good production.

Not a Very Good Story

Our protagonist, Stephanie (May Jasper), works in a call centre and she has a story to tell us. It’s not a nice story either. It’s about cancer. And what happens when a group of people all in the one call centre suddenly get it.

Jasper – who also wrote Not A Very Good Story – is a joy to watch as she plays the awkward and nervous Stephanie who umms and aahs her way through her retelling. This disposition ultimately makes her even more real, authentic and vulnerable to us. Jasper herself is very comfortable on stage and is clearly in her element, talking intimately to the audience for just over an hour without having the safety net of any cues for dialogue.

Even though this is a one-woman play, there are roughly twelve characters that Jasper portrays. Some of these we meet briefly, whilst others are fleshed out more, such as Jen the romantic interest. Jasper takes on some good mannerisms and inflections to differentiate her characters, including changing her voice and posture which helps the audience keep track of who said what when. I did feel however, that a bit more distinction was needed between some of Stephanie’s six co-workers, as there were some slight moments of confusion.

I have seen quite a few one-person performances recently and this one would have to be one of my highlights. Despite the tough subject, this is also a play about a woman sacrificing the woman she loves to save the woman she loves, which makes Not A Very Good Story a great story to experience.

Venue: La Mama Courthouse, 349 Drummond St, Carlton

Season: Until 10 February | Wed, Fri, Sun 6:30pm. Thu, Sat 8:30pm

Tickets: $25 Full | $15 Concession