Fragile

Let it be known now: this show is not an easy watch. Not that it's intending to be – in fact, it's supposed to be a difficult, sickening, and upsetting evening – but if you can make it through, you'll witness an almighty powerhouse of a show.

The script is a fascinating piece of work – never hanging on a moment for too long

This one man show invites the audience to be voyeurs to an intensely private, personal moment, as a man dictates to a tape recorder the events surrounding his sexual abuse as an 11 year old at the hands of a trustworthy teacher. Obviously, the scenes in which he goes into detail about the event are harrowing, disturbing, and frightening, but this show isn't just about a rape – it's about a man trying to cope. A man adorned in tattoos, a man who can kill another with his bare hands in 60 different ways – a man who, after 30 years, is still haunted and imprisoned by the pain and guilt inflicted on him by a man he idolised.

The script is a fascinating piece of work – never hanging on a moment for too long and revealing the details of the abuse in tiny segments the piece. This creates a dense narrative patchwork and a fully formed central character, (known only as One), making witnessing his therapy all the harder to bear. Although he speaks candidly to the tape recorder, he still holds back, and there is as much dramatic weight in what he doesn't say as in what he does. One cannot trust anyone since the attack. Sitting there in his cramped attic, surrounded by boxes and covered paintings, this self-confessed killing expert is a sad, broken character.

There are one or two moments where One's stomping and screaming become a little overwhelming and distracting, but this doesn't stop this show being a must see. Fragile is breathtaking and the final reveal, which is played perfectly, is an image not easily forgotten.

Reviews by Andy Currums

Laughing Horse @ Jekyll & Hyde

Strange Face - Adventures with a Lost Nick Drake Recording

★★★
Assembly George Square Studios

Antonio Forcione: No Strings Attached

★★★★★
Pleasance Courtyard

...and This is My Friend Mr Laurel

★★★★
Just the Tonic at The Community Project

Mick Ferry: What's Going On?

★★★
Assembly George Square Studios

Mervyn Stutter's Pick of the Fringe

★★★★
theSpace @ Symposium Hall

Eric Davidson - The Independent State of Eric

★★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Bafta winning writer Geoff Thompson’s chilling new semi-autobiographical drama charting a broken man’s journey through abuse, reconciliation and redemption. Abandoned and alone, he tells his story to a tape recorder in the hope of finding peace. Fragile premiered at Belgrade Theatre, Coventry in 2012. Controversy over its brutal subject matter led to the production being cancelled amid critical acclaim and sell-out audiences. Old Joint Stock Theatre Company revived it this year with the support of Geoff Thompson. Winners of Best Fringe Production 2013, Central Region (ThePublicReviews.com). Best Production, Birmingham Fest. Best Solo Production, Stratford-Upon-Avon Fringe.