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  • Henry Longstaff

Totally Trucked - Barons Court Theatre

Katie Damer writes and stars in this one-woman show

 Katie Damer stands in a spotlight


Autobiographical stories can often make for the most gripping and moving tales, the knowledge that the events are true increasing the emotional impact but they still need the same care and attention as their fictional siblings. Katie Damer’s story whilst deeply inspiring and worthy of being shared does not have this impact, its lack of clear purpose and message muting its potential.

At fifteen Katie has hit by a truck whilst cycling home. The impact almost ending her life and left her suffering from complex regional pain syndrome paired with the prospect of never walking again. She charts her journey through recovery whilst navigating the trials of being a teenager, discussing periods, sex, love, drinking, family, mental health and eventually moving away from home to drama school, existing independently for the first time. The broad topic base means the piece lacks focus for the vast majority of the runtime, leaping sporadically between disconnected events, anecdotes and tangents never allowing itself to settle in any unifying theme - more like a stream of consciousness than a well-put-together story.

Damer’s performance feels authentic and passionate but never reaches the sensitive extremes needed to fully deliver on its promise. Many of her jokes land uncomfortably and elements come across as forced - slowing the pace down and giving the play space to breathe would go someway in addressing this.

Whilst there is potential in Damer’s impressive story, which is neatly framed with her running of the Manchester marathon, in its current state it needs some hefty refocusing for it to work as an evening of theatre. I admire her courage in sharing such a personal story and would love to see it flourish in future iterations.

Running until 13 May - Tickets

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