The Year I Was Gifted @ Sweet

Review by Emma Ainley-Walker | 19 Sep 2013
  • The Year I Was Gifted @ Sweet

The Year I Was Gifted is the true tale of the year one otherwise unexceptional teenage girl lied her way into one of America's most preeminent boarding schools for the performing arts. It is about self discovery, coming of age, independence and trying to find your tribe. It is about friendships, principals and beliefs. It is about overcoming and standing up to prejudices when you're young and idealistic enough to maybe just make a difference.

All of this is good. It is a well-directioned tale that knows exactly what its message is and makes sure its audience will understand exactly what they are supposed to take away. In this sense, the show could stand to be a little subtler. It's message is clear, and right. There is no disagreeing with it and for this very reason it could be a little less preachy and have a less obvious agenda. When the message is good, it doesn't need to be thrown so blatantly at an audience.

There is a slow start to the performance. The background information is important to the set up, and it is a true depiction of what happened, but overall the whole performance could be taken down a couple of notches. The performance is caught between a retelling of the past and acting as if it was happening right then, as if this woman was transported back into her 15 year-old self. However, she just doesn't quite get it, and instead of having balance it slips into moments of over-acting. A well-meaning one woman show, The Year I Was Gifted unfortunately remains unremarkable among so many other solo shows at this year's Fringe. 


Run ended