Cracked Tiles

Half Scottish, half Italian, and all heart, Lorenzo Novani’s solo show is well worth getting out of bed early for. Set in the stock room of his father’s fish and chip shop, he tells his own story: juggling two identities on top of family heartbreak and a failing business.

There are plenty of true-life stories at the Fringe, but there’s no doubt that Cracked Tiles will be the one that stays with you long after August is over.

The set is minimal, but does the job – Novani stands among sacks of potatoes and wooden pallets, and furthest downstage is an ominous cardboard box with just his name on it, scrawled in permanent marker. Through his aptitude for pinpointing character, Novani introduces us to a whole host of faces from his past and present - his family, his colleagues and his customers all come to life before the audience’s eyes. Though the story flips between past and present, Novani leads us through it with no trouble. There’s moments of hilarity too - Novani gives a warm performance as himself, but also brings stereotypes together from both sides of his background to create the lighter moments of the piece.

The real success of Cracked Tiles, however, is not in the adept performance. Novani’s story is true, and so the show is a genuinely special experience - with such a unique perspective and story to tell, it would have been mullered by another writer or another actor with Novani’s words in his mouth. Instead, the emotions avoid any sort of fabricated sentimentality - for a show that deals with bereavement and mental illness, it could have felt set up to deliberately pull on an audience’s heartstring, but it doesn’t. Novani’s just here to tell his story - if you cry when he cries (and you will), then that’s up to you.

There are plenty of true-life stories at the Fringe, but there’s no doubt that Cracked Tiles will be the one that stays with you long after August is over. 

Reviews by Caitlin Hobbs

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★★★
Spotlites

Cracked Tiles

★★★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Saturated with vivid memories, it conceals family secrets and stokes inner demons. A young man sits alone in the back shop of his family chippy. Join this lonely soul as he wrestles with manhood, madness and family in an attempt to reconcile past and present. One-man play from a unique Scots Italian perspective.