I went to see Caroline Horton's solo performance last night at the Junction in Cambridge. It was fantastic: imaginative, touching, heartbreakingly and delicately written, and, above all, performed with outstanding wit, talent and feeling.
Caroline is young (surprisingly so - I wondered about her age throughout the play and was astounded when I found out at the end that she was born in 1981). She is a clever and eloquent story teller. "You're Not Like the Other Girls, Chrissy" is the story of her French grandmother's unconventional engagement to an English soldier and her unwavering love for him in the face of adversity in occupied France during the second World War. Caroline, as Chrissy, plays the part beautifully - capturing the strength, resolve, eccentricity and faltering English perfectly.
The audience was drawn in from the very first scene - in the busy Gare du Nord in Paris, with a Chrissy full of hope and love, at last to be reunited with her uptight Englishman - to the last, captivated along the way by suitcases, opened up to reveal English countrysides, flowers, illuminated Paris scenes, and undercover BBC radio broadcasts. Chrissy's story, like her manner, jumps from humour, to elation, to despair, to anger, to wistfulness and willfulness. Cleverly illustrated with props and hilarious expressions - facial and vocal - Chrissy's tale lovingly describes war-torn France, family life, English idiocies and Liberation.
The most amazing aspect of Caroline Horton's performance is her ability to flawlessly act out something so close to her heart. As the play concluded, the audience shed a tear, some sobbed whole heartedly, as we were suddenly and completely immersed in Caroline and Chrissy's family, allowed to share an honest and poignant insight into their memories, and to experience the joy of a real life fairy tale.