Sometimes it takes the trendy, well-dressed Londoner you always wanted to be to show you that the trendy well-dressed Londoner you always wanted to be simply doesn’t exist. Zuzana Spacirova is that Londoner, and her semi-autobiographical performance provides a barrage of relatable self-depreciation and unrivalled stamina, that is sure to leave its audience feeling poignant, cheerful, and – for the lucky ones – very thankful to not live in London.
Runaway is a one-woman show telling the story of Diana, who moves from her home country to London – escaping the strained and difficult relationship she has with her family, and forging a new life of strained and difficult relationships with other people. Over the course of an hour, we see Diana’s life grow and change, as she experiences career difficulties, heartbreak, and somewhat inanimate friendships. Throughout it all, the story is delivered with an enthusiasm and magnetism that has you celebrating every triumph and swallowing every failure, even as you question how she finds the time to breathe among all that dialogue.
The greatest strength of Runaway is the heart that goes into every part of it. Though the script may occasionally take pride in the kind of London-centric humour that won’t make sense if you don’t know your Victoria Line from your Piccadilly, it still delivers a funny and poignant story that strikes a chord with every member of its audience. Though the staging is about as minute as it can get, the production takes full advantage of effective lighting and some well-deployed props. These little details are enough to pique the audience’s interest and make the show feel bigger than it is.
Nonetheless, what truly gains the audience’s attention is the leading lady’s performance. Throughout the whole show, Spacirova dazzles the audience with undeniable charm, a bubbly personality, and – it cannot be stated enough – a ridiculous level of stamina. It is this performance that draws the audience in and keeps them captivated until the very end. And it is through this performance that the show is able to deliver a poignant message about the hardships life can deliver, leaving its audience to reflect on how difficult it is to know where home is until you’ve already left it.