Navel-Gazing Play Attempts Twisted Take On True Love

Tonight I'm Gonna Be the New Me at Soho Theatre ★★☆☆☆

By BelindaL Last edited 40 months ago
Navel-Gazing Play Attempts Twisted Take On True Love Tonight I'm Gonna Be the New Me at Soho Theatre 2
It's all about us: Jess Latowicki, courtesy David Monteith-Hodge

Tonight I’m Gonna Be The New Me comes to the Soho Theatre from the Edinburgh Fringe and, tonight, audience,  you are going to be… the third wheel in a quasi-reality relationship drama.

Made In China’s one woman play, co-authored with her real life partner Tim Cowbury, exposes their warts and all relationship via story and dance. The nuances of their connection are dissected and presented to us, as if we were watching a live Facebook feed but based on something altogether more uncomfortable. Jess Latowicki, enclosed in the cage-like lightbox set (is she a performing music box doll?) tells us her feelings about Tim (present and on lighting duties) sometimes bringing him into the action.

The problem is, why would we be interested in their relationship? It’s a self-indulgent premise, except it also aims, perhaps more interestingly, to play with the tensions between fact and reality: we are never sure if they are a happy or an unhappy couple. In Jess’s frenetic dancing, she could be either having a frightening nervous breakdown — extending trembling ballet dancer’s arms like leaves in the breeze of the fan constantly behind her — or she could be working off some supercharged positive energy.

Elsewhere, Tim gawps uselessly at Jess as she freezes in various sex-doll like poses, the subjugated woman. But she then swiftly laughs this off, claiming to us she was doing a special Swedish type of yoga. If you push the theory, then this could be a play about the performances couples will put on for each other — and others — to pretend they’re happy when really they might not be.

But that’s all quite a lot for the brain to do and really, what this play lacks is heart. We’d have liked it much better if the whole 65 minutes consisted of Latowicki's strange, yet compelling dances which take on meaning from the huge fan behind. An emblem for danger, the fan becomes the rotating blades of a plane about to take off and a bedroom fan, as she literally cools herself down in its breezes. But the naval gazing is all a bit annoying and we felt quite glad to get out of this game of blurring the fact and fiction lines — an in joke for two, more than a play to be shared.

Tonight I'm Gonna Be the New Me is at the Soho Theatre until 26 September. Tickets: £12-14. Londonist saw this play on a complimentary ticket.

Last Updated 10 September 2015