Lily has hit a bump; on the cusp of entering the big post-university world, she finds herself pregnant and adrift. From the abortion clinic’s waiting room, she contemplates her journey into womanhood.
Returning home with vague ideas of becoming a writer, Lily is pleased to hook up with Laura – her best friend from school – and hit the town to revisit their old haunts. But Laura has moved on, and has new friend Maxine in tow. Three’s a crowd and Lily is left alone in the club, drinking too much. Soon there is a hook-up of a different kind, and there are consequences to be faced.
Bump is at its best when demonstrating the physical sensations of being a young woman; solo performer Rosa Torr brings a visceral quality to Lily's embarrassment at bleeding in front of her boyfriend after losing her virginity, of being violently ill in early pregnancy, or when she studies her body for changes after finding out that she's expecting. Torr also nicely delineates the different characters she plays. The bitchy Maxine is a favourite.
However, there are aspects of Lily’s character that don’t quite ring true. With her friends, Lily is loud, opinionated and independent, while being rude and abusing those she doesn't like. Her language is crude and inventive, and her asides witty, though her dialogue is occasionally clichéd. Yet despite her apparent independence, she still seems to feel obliged to accompany her parents to church.
At church, the character of a creepy Catholic priest is introduced, but is taken nowhere. Her mother is non-communicative and unsympathetic – and while there is a moving moment when she claims she's too busy to bring Lily to the clinic (but still expects Lily to go with her to Mass), again it passes very quickly without delving into the relationship. It is an opportunity missed; the intersection between Catholicism, devout parents and abortion is, forgive the pun, fertile ground.
By estranging Lily from her friends and family, the script focuses on her isolation, but has the effect of limiting discussion on the choice she makes. She does come across an unpleasantly confrontational pro-life video on google, and is blandly and politely questioned at the clinic; but there are many more complex questions and emotions that could be brought out through conversations with a friend, or even a sympathetic medic.
The advance of feminist and pro-feminist theatre has been a welcome feature of this Fringe – and while Bump is a worthy addition, it needs to do more to stand out from the crowd. A penchant for swearing and drinking has become an overused signature for an independently-minded young woman, and a more nuanced approach to the subject of abortion would also pay emotional dividends.