Meet Myah: she’s just turned 30 and has been let go from her soul sucking corporate job and broken up with her ‘swamp man’ boyfriend. Struggling in the corporate world and having a crappy ex are universally relatable to millenial female Londoners, but what is incredible about Amanda Wilkin’s (writer and star) Shedding a Skin is the exploration of the black experience in London – through the lens of Myah and the elderly Jamaican woman she becomes a lodger for, Mildred.
A debut one woman show, Wilkin commands the stage, with the flow of the piece perfectly complimented by Rosanna Vize’s set and Jess Bernberg’s lighting design. We meet Myah when she’s at her lowest, and slowly, as she discovers herself and opens herself to new experiences, the set also evolves with her.
Wilkin won the 2020 Verity Bargate writing award for this piece, and that alone is impressive enough given the previous recipients include Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Russel T Davies – yet the work speaks for itself. Wilkins easily skips from laughter to tears within the 1h30 run time, weaving a thread around ‘connection’ and a drumbeat sentence of ‘in this moment’ to cohesively bring the piece together.
Myah goes from being ‘afraid of the skin [she’s] in’ to celebrating her new found connections with Mildred and Chemi. Along the way, issues such as loneliness in both younger and older generations, intergenerational friendship, diversity (or lack thereof) in the workplace, politics, sexuality, and first generation immigrant experience are all explored, yet none feel contrived. It’ll be exciting seeing Wilkins’ career as a writer grow to see her future work potentially delve even deeper into these themes.
Shedding a Skin allows Myah to grow into her own, and consequently Wilkins’ words allow the audience grow with her. A must see for anyone struggling with loneliness, self acceptance and grief in a big city.
The show is now in fact sold out: so be sure to check out the live streamed performance (including a separate captioned live stream) on Thursday the 15th of July to not miss out!