Juliette Burton : When I Grow Up
Eden Court OneTouch
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by Hector Mackenzie
FOR a show that challenges lazy expectations and easy assumptions, it somehow seemed fitting that Burton arrived neither stage left nor right but from the back of the auditorium when making her arrival at a sparsely peopled OneTouch.
That sense of slight unease a very small audience can sometimes transmit evaporated within minutes as Burton made a personal introduction to several of those still wondering where exactly she had come from in the first place. Letting the audience know who you are and what you’re about is a given for most performers. Helping them get to know each other, now there’s a talent that needs cultivated.
The audience may have been small but it was certainly varied, from the S4 student to the accountant who wanted to be a footballer and the mental health charity volunteer who would later share a few stories of her own.
That level of curiosity was richly rewarded with a funny, entertaining, brave and thought-provoking one-woman show centering on all of the future possibilities dreamed up by a little girl whose early years aspirations ranged from wanting to be a ballerina, a princess, a pop star and...a Muppet.
Interspersed with video interviews with the public and a very amusing mock-Skype interview with purple puppet, Randy, the show explores what being a grown-up really means and how self-perception can change for the better — even if you’ are a middle-aged engineer with a job that’s just “okay”.
Staged as part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival, we see Burton living out those childhood dreams through film clips which show her various attempts at being what she once dreamed off. This includes waiting, in full storybook princess garb, for Prince Harry to turn up at the Chelsea Flower Show and joining a class of pre-school children at a ballet class. She also tries her hand at being a baker, a farmer and a popstar — the latter, it has to be said, with some success...
There’s a very serious side to a show that tackles head-on the trauma of eating disorders and issues around mental wellbeing. Yet it’s a truly uplifting affair, thought-provoking and positively bursting with optimism about future possibilities.