Banter Jar at Lion & Unicorn Theatre: “An authentic and timely one-woman show”
Banter Jar is a one-woman show from actor and singer Hannah Baker. She is performing a week-long run of shows at this fine little theatre in Kentish Town, the Lion and Unicorn, which has a policy of choosing some of the most interesting and quietly revolutionary work around. This is a coming-of-age story, self-described as “a one-woman play about growing up. About sex and giggles. Self-harm and busking […] Why is it always the kindest people that’re the saddest?” It’s a poetic introduction to a personal work whose run happens to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week.
Baker is a 20-something talent who “grew up busking in Coventry town centre, outside Poundland, as I am doing in the play”. The show is infused with music – which was her way into theatre, having attended an actor musicianship course at drama school – with the performer singing and playing her guitar. She has a clear, powerful voice. Baker says that the artistic director of the Lion & Unicorn expressed interest in her script since the early days of its writing.
The play feels immediate; it is a passionate and raw exploration of the most personal of experiences that also happen to be universal. There’s not a person alive who hasn’t questioned their sanity in the throes of first love, surely. The story also features psychosis which is a far less common mental health experience and is surrounded by fear and misinformation. It is brave and necessary to address this most frightening of human experiences in art and a step for which Baker should be commended.
Banter Jar is not necessarily polished theatre, but it is authentic and timely, with an integrity and heart that marks Baker as a talent to watch.
Banter Jar is at Lion & Unicorn Theatre until 14th May 2022. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.