This fringe season, emerging performer Poppy Mee explores the issues that many young women face in a society where everyone feels the pressure to be perfect. (Image source: Adelaide Fringe)

By Eva Blandis | @BlandisEva

Poppy Mee’s world premiere of A Slight Exaggeration uses humour to represent the lengths we go to show a version of ourselves that we desire. In a messy and disorderly room, which depicts her mental state, Mee breaks the fourth wall, talks to the audience about her experiences living in London over a year ago. Mee draws us in with a fascinating yet cliché story about finding herself. As the story begins to conclude, her inner voices push her to tell the truth.

With relatable anecdotes and jokes, I felt as if I’d been right beside Mee in London. As the truth begins to unravel and Mee’s sense of reality begins to warp, audiences can relate to the pressure society puts on us to share a polished and slightly false version of ourselves. Mee’s story explores the struggles of being honest when fiction is more appealing than fact.

At times, I felt my attention begin to slip, but Mee’s captivating presence on stage continued to draw me in. By breaking the fourth wall, the audience has no other option than to feel involved and understand Mee’s struggles. The difficulties shared are similar to what we all face, especially during a pandemic when the days seem never-ending.

At first, Mee’s story of living in London describes a perfect and exciting sex life. But as the story unfolds, she confesses a realistic and relatable account of dating in 2021. Mee uses metaphors to describe the more graphic parts of her sex life, which creates a funny and enticing environment. Not only does Mee’s presence encapsulate the audience, but so does her witty script. However, the humour does not take away from the serious aspects of the story.

This one-woman show portrays the pressure that young women feel to be perfect in a society riddled with unrealistic expectations. Mee perfectly describes the feeling of needing to be validated by what others think. A Slight Exaggeration also touches on the prevalent issue of young women experiencing mental illness. Mee uses her sense of humour to include the audience, but at times the jokes were lost on me. The innovative use of breaking the fourth wall to engage audience members allows you to relax into the show, as if listening to a friend telling a story.

A Slight Exaggeration shares a familiar story about what we are afraid to tell others about ourselves. Although there is a minimal set with few props, Mee’s stage presence is all that is needed to tell her story. Mee perfectly articulates the struggles of being honest while feeling the pressure to fit society’s mould.  

A Slight Exaggeration is playing at The Breakout at The Mill until March 19 2021.