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Boy Parts Review

Reviewed by Jessica Green

Vulgar, witty, dark, crude. Brilliant.

Aimée Kelly in Boy Parts. Photo by Joe Twigg Photography.

This one-woman psychological thriller, adapted from Eliza Clark’s debut novel of the same name, follows Irina, a photographer we witness ranging from manipulative to murderous, as she subverts the female gaze to scout male models for her explicit photoshoots.

Irina as a character, is volatile, cruel, and coarse and Aimée Kelly, the sole star of this story is spectacular at capturing this, whilst also providing a subtle touch of contrasting fragility. Her ability to narrate the plot and depict every character within the story, seamlessly flipping between mannerisms, tones and regional accents is remarkable. Her portrayal adds an element of comedy to Irina, making her far more likeable than she should’ve been. Her Geordie accent is impeccable and I thought, removed the slight element of over-pronounced cringe that can often be present in one-person productions. It also highlighted to me, how rarely characters from the North-East of England are represented on stage in London – I was pleased to hear this rarely heard twang.

The staging of this production is simple looking yet symbolically smart, depicting not just backdrops and camera flashes, but Irina’s mental state. The layered staging seems to represent the many depths of her personality and the different facets of her internal distress, whilst the lighting and sound evoke very clearly, the chaos of her brain. At one point, the shadow of Irina’s laying body during an assault, seem to create Rorschach-esque inkblots, a genius choice of imagery to encapsulate the dark, sexual themes of both the moment, and the play as a whole.

The script (adapted by Gillian Greer) was an excellent interpretation of the book, made more palatable to the eye of a physical audience. If the elements of psychosis and violence were removed, the themes of humour throughout the play (feminism, queer culture, classism, casual drug useare perfectly tailored to the type of liberal audience who would opt into a one-woman play in London’s Soho on a weekday evening. This intelligent mix of relatability and the perverse, create a play that the audience equally want to devour as they do shy away from.

As the story progressed, I found myself wondering how differently I would feel and how much less I would have been rooting for the main character, had they been male. Sentences such as “He was so beautiful, I couldn’t help myself” feel universally less threatening coming from a woman. I soon learnt that this was the premise of the play – Irina’s frustration that the men around her are not scared, not matter how much she hurts them or what heinous crimes she confesses, show how a woman is able to get away with something a man couldn’t, because men simply do not see women as a threat, no matter how far they push them.

An immaculate portrayal of a fascinating concept, led faultlessly by an actress who I believed wholeheartedly.


Boy Parts continues at Soho Theatre until Saturday 25th November 2023 with tickets available from

Aimée Kelly in Boy Parts. Photo by Joe Twigg Photography.

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