It has been three weeks since I left the bubble that is Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017 to return to the much larger bubble that is London. And ironically, the manic, fast-paced lifestyle of living in the capital is a relaxing break from the utter madness that was Edinburgh for the month of August.
Category: Edinburgh Fringe
We are no longer a Christian society – the Western world is fast transforming into something more complex, more agnostic. There’s a reluctance to believe, to have faith in a power that is outside of your comprehension. We live in a time when control comes easier; technology gives us more automation and greater analytical power to understand our needs and satisfy them. The idea of something existing outside of this tangibility is starting to be unacceptable. Like A Prayer takes us back to the nature of faith, the question that asks whether we can expand our appreciation past a technological sphere into something more spiritual.
Mark Conway is nervously aggressive throughout Ballistic – it’s unnerving how he can flip his mood on a knife edge. Growing up, it is clear that the little things are sparking off latent undercurrents of violence. He can’t process emotions properly; he comes from a broken middle-class family; he has a childlike bluntness to his moods. Alex Packer’s script sets the scene beautifully in a production that warps jealousy into hate into rage. Anna Marsland’s direction is to subtly emphasise the little triggers that build up – this isn’t one incident that sets off Conway, it’s a slowly boiling pot that eventually simmers over.
This is a show about the morning after the night before – two hungover women, worrying about who they slept with and desperate for pizza. It’s also a show about social media, public image and how your popularity directly impacts your behaviour. Pulled aims to unashamedly highlight binge culture, ladies going out and enjoying themselves without the associated stigmas. But it’s pithy at best, large portions of narrative that go nowhere fast and a set of observations that are already a bit dated. Binge culture has been around since the 90s and the social media angle adds nothing impactful to this story.
James Rowland is so relaxed, so comfortable and honest. He tells us a story – he reminds us that it’s fictional but it feels so real, such is his prowess in the narration. Instantly likeable, he speaks with humility, the astonishment of being lucky enough to have good things in his life, thankful for everything he has. Instantly we buy his tale, we laugh with him and feel for him. A Hundred Different Words For Love, but the feeling of Rowland’s emotions are crystal clear. Who needs a hundred when the one you use holds such astonishing power?