Alison Hall’s newest piece of writing V-Card is a cynical, witty, and touching attack on society’s view of virginity and traditional sexuality. This radio play follows Hazel who, as she quickly approaches her twentieth birthday, feels under pressure from her friends to lose her titular ‘v-card’. At a time when theatre in any form is scarce, this production draws you in with its host of quirky and sympathetic characters, entertaining dialogue, and relatable story.
After having been forced to reschedule several times over the last few months, Hall has finally been able to put on this production in the form of a radio play – a medium usually reserved for quaint stories designed to be enjoyed from the warmth of an armchair. V-Card, however, joyfully ignores this tradition, thereby putting itself in a unique spot to attack traditional attitudes towards the all-important ‘first time’. Whilst some technical difficulties meant the performance was released slightly late, this seemed merely to build anticipation and emphasise the brilliant technical achievement of the recording as a whole. Christopher McHugh’s sound effects must be particularly commended, used appropriately they never distracted but always enhanced the humour, tension, or awkwardness of a scene.
The cast did a brilliant job of making a play so inherently concerned with intimacy and relationships still feel intimate even through headphones and without real human contact. Ellie Fullwood’s Hazel expertly navigated her intimate and emotional encounters with Grace de Souza’s Robin. The intense awkwardness of Glyn Owen’s scenes as both Freddie and Greg would make anyone cringe in sympathy, and the comically flippant dream sequences with Lorcan Cudlip Cook’s God did not fail to amuse. Due to some occasionally lengthy pauses between dialogue, conversations sometimes came across as slightly stilted; a shame as the witty dialogue would directly benefit from snappier back and forth. This is, however, easily attributed to the novelty of the medium.
It is highly commendable that any performances be produced at the moment, let alone one of such high quality. The powerful performances of all actors, in combination with a strikingly profound script, make this a success for all involved. V-Card is a joy to listen to and gives us all the extremely reassuring message that, even at the moment, productions can and will continue to flourish.