Sooz Kempner takes us through growing up in the 90s, an innocent time during which she cultivated an obsession first with Sonic the Hedgehog then an old cassette recording of Les Miserables. As she looks back across her life she starts to think that maybe it hasn’t turned out the way she'd hoped.
A difficult childhood and tricky relationship with her father both played their part in making life a bit of a struggle for Kempner, but her gutsy performance and drive are clearly on display here. She has chutzpah by the bucket load.
Though based on a niche period of time Kempner makes her show work for all ages, clearly explaining the context without ever overdoing it. For those of us who didn’t grow up in the 90s but remember it well, it’s a nostalgia trip and for those who didn’t live that decade at all, it’s a lesson in recent history.
The show may not provoke big belly laughs but Kempner keeps up the titters throughout with her easy delivery. Her PowerPoint illustrates the action, allowing for a few amusing young Kempner pics and reminding us of the traumas to be found in both Watership Down and My Little Pony: The Movie.
But the stand-out section of the piece is Kempner talking to her 13 year old self, seeking to provide her with a sense of perspective. The young Kempner’s optimism is nicely nuanced here.
Overall she’s an engaging performer, and with her background in musical theatre she’s able to belt out a couple of show tunes too, which serve to lift the narrative.