Sea Words at Edinburgh Fringe ★★★½
An undeniably impressive solo performance from Olly Gully feels like watching a nervous breakdown unfold before your eyes.
Perhaps not the most relaxing theatrical experience this – those prone to pangs of anxiety at the misfortune of others might want to look away! Olly Gully is Chris, one half of a seaside double act whose partner Christine refuses to emerge from behind the curtain.
What follows is at first sweet and endearing, but increasingly desperate and uncomfortable. Which of course is what Gully is aiming for – Sea Words is like some kind of unfolding nightmare, a mental health crisis in one-man show form.
There’s no doubting the skill and utter commitment on display here, and there are some memorable set pieces – in particular, some improv which tales a turn for the macabre.
Whether you enjoy or endure Sea Words will very much depend on the energy and mindset you arrive with – you might leave needing a lie down in a dark room! You’ll remember what you experienced, though, and make sure yo never get on the wrong side of any double-act partners in future!
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