Kirsty Osmon captivates the audience from the first moment her drunken anti-heroin wakes. Love, loss and the consequences of a night out from hell are all tackled in this blackly comedic and, at times, heartbreakingly bittersweet new one woman show, brought by Empty Wallet Productions, to this year's festival.
Kirsty Osmon captivates the audience from the first moment her drunken anti-heroin wakes
In Awakening, we accompany our narrator Cassie, as she attempts to piece together what happened to her the previous night after finding herself waking up in a stranger's garden. Through flashbacks, a collection of bizarre characters and painful reunions with old friends, we gain an insight into the choices and tragedies that took Cassie to this end and are forced to question if she is capable of change.
One thing I’ve learned over the years is that in a one person performance, it is absolutely key that the performer is able to put their own stamp onto the text. This means taking the script and completely embodying it in every movement, line of dialogue and minor moment of characterisation to craft the world of the story for the audience. It is wonderful that in this case we have a superb example of how to do this right. Writer/performer Kirsty Osmon captivates the audience from the moment her drunken anti-heroin wakes. She embodies Cassie with a reckless charm, endearing us to her with her bleak sense of humour and self deprecation, yet creates enough range to allow chinks in her armour later on seem plausible. What strikes me is how real this person feels, indeed how many us know someone who hides their pain in humour all the while throwing themselves into self destructive behaviour because they feel they can’t cope. Osmon also breathes life into various other characters of the story, giving them each a unique personality and extra contours to the already well sketched story.
The show also boasts an impressive set design, with the production's many props pinned haphazardly to a wooden arch behind Cassie in a jumbled mass. This allows her to grab and re-attach them as need be, and also serves as the perfect representation of the messy and chaotic nature of Cassie's general existence.
Slightly hobbling the show is an overuse in the early parts of comical and cartoonish sound effects, which create a rather jarring tone and feel unnecessary and gimmicky. Osmon is so able to bring the audience to laughter with just movement and delivery, and these serve to dilute this. These thankfully begin to fade away by the second half, and the show is able to end on a high note of brilliant emotional intensity.
Awakening is a show any curious fringe goers should find time to see if they want a powerful, well crafted piece of theatre.