Review: Destiny (Pentabus Theatre, online)

Florence Espeut-Nickless writes (her debut play) and performs this fresh and funny monologue, which explores where film and theatre meet.

Co-produced by Pentabus and Rural Media, this portrays a teenage girl’s  experience and responses to abuses of power. It feels very real, and Espeut-Nickless brings her character into sharp clarity.

Destiny is fiery and fearless and fighting to escape the background she is trapped in. She wants more, a life  fame. She wants excitement. She “has needs” but also has the fantasies of a little girl.

Image from Destiny

This is a full and frank piece, sexually explicit and brutally violent. Using visual cues, a gossipy delivery, and repetition to deal with the aftermath of a horrific incident, Destiny makes a clear point about consent, teenage crushes, and the line at the edge of childhood.

Directed by Elle While and Rachel Lambert, this film uses realistic locations, tight close-ups, and dreamlike sequences to move the story along. Justin Dolby’s sound design is excellent throughout with atmospheric effects and Alex Fraser’s music.

This play underlines an important message about how sexual assault is viewed as “minor” or the fault of the victim. Best ignored or swept under the carpet.

Not really something you can blame a man for (even when I was a teen, I was warned, “a man can’t always stop if you say yes”).

Image from Destiny

Espeut-Nickless’s writing is rough and ready but shows a strong maturity and an interesting working-class voice. I was reminded of the work of Andrea Dunbar in tone and Shelagh Delaney in theme (to some extent).

A play about growing up, about fancying people, about friendship, about feelings, about surviving the injustice against abused women, about dealing with predators.

A piece which will spark discussion and deserves to be widely seen by girls (and boys) of 13 upwards and their parents.

Destiny is free to watch online until 5 Oct on YouTube.


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