When Girl 29 is drug-raped, Janet, Sheldon and Shona find their friendship pushed to its limits. Janet is distraught when fiancé Gary is accused of the rape, a chance encounter makes Sheldon the only witness, and Shona is dragged back into the traumatic past she can never fully remember – but never forget.
Written and produced by Catherine Kay, the play sets out to address attitudes to rape and its victims – and does so unflinchingly. The hard-hitting debate between the three main characters rises up at the beginning and doesn’t falter for a second, and the broken, hollow figure of Girl 29 remains on stage throughout as she undergoes therapy in hospital.
Unfortunately, what should be a strong, compelling narrative is disjointed by the constant use of facts, stats and individual monologues, and the play wavers uncertainly between documentary-style lecture and realistic character portrayal. Most disappointingly of all, Girl 29 has barely any voice at all in a play purporting to reclaim the depiction of female victim hood.
As we struggle to redefine feminism for the 21st century, the huge importance of Just One Day’s subject matter cannot be overstated – but with Girl 29 so sadly dissociated from the other characters, the play doesn’t achieve the brave depiction of female solidarity it sets out to.