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The Alphabet Girl

They fuck you up, your mum and gran. That is the message of Renny Krupinski’s one-woman show, which traces abuse and neglect across three generations of women, played out against the backdrop of a radically changing Britain. Krupinski scored a Fringe First award for ‘Bare’ in 2010, but there is little to recommend in this new piece, with flat writing, an improbable plot and an inconsistent performance from actor Kaitlin Howard.

Roughly divided into three monologues, both the writing and performance are best in the first, as Howard plays the gin-slinging, man-eating grandmother. Reclining with louche defiance in her leopard skin jacket, there is fortitude as well as misery in her survival through two World Wars and a number of disastrous relationships.

Neither her daughter nor granddaughter, the neurotic titular Alphabet Girl, are anything like as interesting, and Hamilton feels uncomfortable in both roles. Krupinski’s theme of mothers handing down misery to their daughters, of gradually hardening or twisting their children to make up for their own inadequate lives is a rich one, but the writing becomes increasingly tepid as we reach the 21st century, and a bizarre swerve in the closing moments aims for darkly comic and lands squarely at ridiculous.

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Flat writing and an uneven performance scupper a one-woman show about a family seen through three tortured generations