Katie Arnstein must be one of the hardest-working theatremakers at this year’s Vault Festival as she’s performing all three shows of her It’s a Girl trilogy at the venue.
Sticky Door, the third and most recent of these, is a one-woman show about sex, identity and mental health. Mining her experiences as a young actor in south London, Arnstein takes us back to 2014 – the year she resolved to sleep with a different man, no strings attached, every month.
Using a sparse but effective set with pared-back lighting, Love Actually-inspired cardboard signs and a ukulele, Arnstein gives a laugh-out-loud funny, but delicately moving performance.
Her one-liners are skilfully delivered (“I get cystitis like Old Etonians get into parliament – regularly and without trying”), and she moves about the space with a bouncy energy, slowing right down to a lethargic slump when discussing depression.
This piece is littered with cultural references, with abundant sound clips, grounding it in a fixed place and time. She creates a tangible image of London renting, describing the lighting of her Brixton flat, above a Morley’s chicken shop, as having an “Orange is the New Black realness”.
Though this is the show’s first public outing, it’s impressively slick. Arnstein makes a couple of slips, but they don’t make an impact on the piece. She’s a relatable, charismatic performer and this hour-long monologue has a delicious rhythm.
The show is still labelled as being in-development – if it’s this good at this stage, I can’t wait to see where it goes.