The Awkward Years is a compelling one-woman performance, about surviving after pressing life's self destruct button.

It follows the life of Lily, who spends her days in the same dead-end job she's had for ten years, and her nights partying, binge drinking and having one night stands. Her aimless, chaotic life is beautifully and humorously portrayed, from wiping away flecks of vomit from the corners of her mouth sexily, to reminiscing about the film titles she and her bestie, Kels, use to rate the men they sleep with.

It becomes clear that Lily is struggling to accept the need to change and consider the future. The audience realise that, although she seems in control, Lily is on a downward spiral.

Lauren O’Leary is outstanding as Lily, and her intelligent, poignant and physical performance is captivating. She held the audience's attention for the whole 55 minutes, on a bare set.

In my opinion, the repetitive use of flashing lights and discordant sound throughout the play felt unnecessary, along with Lily rolling on the floor to signal a new scene. These are, however, small quibbles. Overall the play is cleverly written and brilliantly performed.

The Other Room has succeeded in bringing exciting new writing to its loyal audience, as - in my experience - it often does.

The Awkward Years, by Matthew Bulgo, will run at The Other Room in Cardiff until September 29.

Hedd Emrys