Running into Me @ Underbelly, Cowgate
Running is only one way in which Vickie Tanner fills the stage in her solo performance Running Into Me. She dances, argues, gets high and laughs hysterically without any need for much production design – the only prop is a chair and it suffers duly for getting in her way – in order to make her story incredibly compelling.
Tanner both manages to do justice to the heavy subject material of the piece while nimbly avoiding taking herself too seriously. She buoyantly switches between convincing portrayals of her eye-rolling teenage self, family members and the relentless blaring of television ads, while guiding us through a journey of self-discovery that takes her and the audience from Californian inner city hardship to New York interpretative dance. The skills she picked up along the way make her mime of being kicked out of the house as gripping as her rendition of “dancing the way a standing base would if it could move” is hilarious.
A highly personal one woman show may sound like an intimidating genre, but Tanner is never self-absorbed or gratuitously emotional. Instead she exudes a warmth and generosity that invites the audience into the story of her past without making them feel like voyeurs.