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Review: Smart Girl’s Guide at The Newsagency

By Liam Shand Egan

Kelly Goddard’s Smart Girl’s Guide opened on Thursday September 19. The show covers the stages of life and the importance of Self Improvement and belted its way to being one of my favourite shows I’ve seen this year. The show is witty, painfully honest and just a little bit weird and you will be hooked from the first bar.

The staging for the show is simple; a grand piano surrounded by stacks of self-help books and a photo of Oprah (just like my home office) and is tastefully lit by the production team at the Newsagency. The show is polished and well-rehearsed and Goddard’s performance was a perfect representation of the insecurities and issues that most of us have felt. No part of the show felt without passion or rushed and it was clear everyone on stage was having an excellent time. I hope that this show gets a larger audience in the future because it has the makings of a hit musical and deserves a much larger stage. There isn’t much in the way of choreography but this choice is well justified with the (once again) amazing singing that Goddard provides. It is a good sign if audiences are turning to their friends to say ‘wow’ and many did on Thursday The content of the show is a brief history of Goddard’s growth into the person we see on stage, from early adolescence to burgeoning adulthood. The show plays off those shared experiences of feeling like a failure to break down the barrier between audience and performer. Thanks to the subject matter, the space feels incredibly intimate and there are times when you feel like you’re the only one in the room. Each section of the show is punctuated around an original piece of music that is well-written and so well performed, you will genuinely mistake some of the music for Sondheim (as my guest did). Goddard has an incredible voice and oozes star-quality at every stage of the show. You want to cheer for her throughout her more triumphant moments and commiserate with her depression. I don’t know how she got to be such an endearing performer, but she did and we are better off for it.  Smart Girl’s Guide is a fantastic show that will suit anyone you bring to it. If you want to simply adore the show from a surface level, Goddard’s vocal and comedic talent will leave you satisfied. However, if you really take to heart the show and engage with the subject matter, there is much more there. I missed out on a major career opportunity about an hour before the show started and was, understandably, gutted but once the show was finished, I felt better. This is an incredibly performed, well thought-out piece of group therapy that will make your night that much better. I would gladly see Smart Girl’s Guide again and I hope that I get the chance to because it was the biggest surprise of Fringe for me. Well done to the entire production team.

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All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.


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