The flaming heart of this piece by Phoebe Eclair-Powell is a superb performance from Jess Mabel Jones. Alone onstage, her hair is a funky mess, and she stomps around the stage in leggings and big boots, taking us into her confidence as she re-assesses her world. Occasionally she bursts into song – roof-lifting renditions of pop tunes such as Katy Perry's "Firework". She is a magnetic presence.
Jones plays F, a woman on a night out with a friend, who has hidden from the sweaty mess of a nightclub in a toilet cubicle. She's hammered, again, and relays her tales of past sexual experiences, her relationship with food, her struggles with her body. She holds nothing back about the way she feels right now, a tangle of confusion – should she still be trying to sleep with as many people as she can? Should she be getting as off-her-face as possible? We learn about past boyfriends and past mistakes – she's like Alice going down a shit looking glass, she tells us. It's all designed to shock but it doesn't quite.
F is heading for 30 and she can't quite believe it: she'd like to "crack my head on these sinks and feel young," she says. Which – as a 30-something year-old – feels both a little galling and a little naïve.
Jessica Edwards' production is bathed in golden light and pumping music. She wisely keeps the focus on Jones throughout and makes the show feel a little like a gig in a scrubby music dive. It's a strong production and a great turn, but the script doesn't quite deliver.
Torch runs at the Underbelly at 8.50pm until 28 August.