Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Review: QUARTER LIFE CRISIS, Nuffield Southampton Theatres

Review: QUARTER LIFE CRISIS, Nuffield Southampton Theatres

Review: QUARTER LIFE CRISIS, Nuffield Southampton Theatres "Siri, when do I become an adult?" Alicia asks. She is, we are told, a "hot mess"; a typical twentysomething, a classic millennial, caught somewhere between her days as a student and "real life".

She bounces between zero-hour contracts, attends weddings that call into question her own purpose in life, and is waiting for her soulmate to appear with a simple swipe.

Actor and playwright Yolanda Mercy gives us, via the Quarter Life Crisis, a 55-minute window into Alicia's life. This Edinburgh Fringe Festival hit has been touring the UK, bringing a combination of spoken word, theatre, music, and even audience participation onto the local stage.

Quarter Life Crisis is a one-woman show that uses a simple set, emoji-filled visual aids, thudding bass lines and honest comedy to explore the age-old mystery: when does adulthood really begin?

Is it when you get married? Meet your partner? Move out on your own? Climb the career ladder? It seems, to Alicia, that if you aren't doing any of these things, you're not really a true grown-up.

On the eve of her 26th birthday, she finds herself trying to figure out what she's really doing with her life, and where she's going next.

The show is probably a fairly accurate representation of modern life for a 25-year-old woman living in London. Yolanda covers dating and relationships, careers, nights out, friendships and finances, fusing comedy and poignant theatre. The focus flows seamlessly, her impressions and characters are entertaining, and her attitude and observations are relatable.

She even, in classic Fringe style, brings the audience into the performance, asking for opinions and offering hugs that break down barriers and reflect the comfort her character so badly needs at this turbulent time of her life.

There is also an unexpected element to this short show that isn't clear from the premise. Among the references to nights out and Nandos, Yolanda brings in the concept of heritage, family, and pressures from the past.

We are told of the milestones Alicia's Nigerian ancestors reached at her age; of early marriages, families, countries explored, and the incredible hardship that came before her.

In contrast to the knowing humour at the start of the show, we're brought back down to earth with a bump when presented with Alicia's roots. It brings a beauty and emotion that takes the show to another level.

It builds on a recurring theme throughout. The madness and mayhem of modern life are broken up by talk of Nigerian tradition and, eventually, a confrontation of the events that broke up her family.

This is a fun, touching and relatable show that ventures much deeper than a typical twentysomething tale. It breaks cliches and offers comfort, reassurance and light relief.

Yolanda's performance itself is confident and honest, and clearly draws from personal experience to deliver a very believable production.

Quarter Life Crisis shows that there is much more to life than keeping up with everyone else. Alicia is one of us, standing on stage and sharing a mutual experience that we all, at some point, have been through: finding our purpose and figuring it out for ourselves. We are united as an audience through Yolanda's down-to-earth message and characterisation.

In the end, it seems that the key to becoming an adult is not reaching society's expected milestones, and obsessing about the future, but perhaps in understanding and accepting our past.

Related Articles View More UK / West End Stories

From This Author - Jo Fisher