Love and Prozac

Director: John Trengove

Cast: Sonia Esgueira

Venue: Baxter Golden Arrow Studio

Until: May 31

Rating: ***

When the not-so-rich texture of life for a female singleton over the age of 30 is hilariously exaggerated, entertaining comedy is bound to result. Which is what we have in Sonia Esgueira’s one-hander, Love and Prozac, currently re-staged in the intimacy of the Baxter’s Golden Arrow Studio.

This production has matured to good effect since its first run some time ago, largely due to Esgueira (pictured) having grown into the diverse and serial roles she fills in the course of the evening – and particularly that of the lead who anchors the show.

There is a strong autobiographical vein running through the sequences (the lead is an actress called Sonia, of Portu- guese descent, and single) – but one has to wonder whether any woman in real life can be as consistently unfortunate in her quest for a soul mate as the increasingly frantic persona created by Esgueira and her director John Trengove.

They take joint credit for devising Love and Prozac.

Esgueira’s boundless versatility enables her to take the portrayal of any character in her stride, from the odiously smug Caitlin whose status as wife and mother causes her to patronise single friends less “blessed”, to the inarticulate Dylan (or is it Dillon?) who breaks Sonia’s heart. Then there is the Portuguese materfamilias largely responsible for her daughter’s obsessed pursuit of a husband, not to mention more exotic creations such as a Sangoma and an Indian guru, the latter recruited to help Sonia find her inner self and restore her emotional equilibrium.

Throughout the show, the lead remains pivotal and thus ensures a sense of structure; moreover, we start and end with interviews to identify dating potential among a singularly unsatisfactory assortment of candidates (needless to say, the truth is seriously massaged to efface flaws of character and lifestyle). Love and Prozac owes much of its success to the growing affection we feel for the desperate Sonia, whose vulnerability makes her a credible, if anti-heroic, persona. Esgueira’s portrayal, enhanced by remarkable energy, keeps the audience in thrall for the show’s duration.