Patrick Sandford is engaging, entertaining and certainly knows how to hold an audience. Performing alongside the talented Loren O’Dair who flits between piano, accordion and a whole host of accents and characters, this is a story taken from conversations with survivors of abuse.

At times Sandford seems to lose his way and O’Dair steers him back on to the path but this is all done in a theatrical and highly convivial way

This show deals with Sandford’s own story and is supported by the charity Mankind. It deals with the subject matter carefully and thoughtfully but also in an entertaining way whilst never making us feel as if we are part of a therapy session. At times Sandford seems to lose his way and O’Dair steers him back on to the path but this is all done in a theatrical and highly convivial way.

It was great to see a full house in the middle of the afternoon on a Thursday. I was worried I may be the only audience member, but clearly Brighton Fringe is now so popular that shows can attract an audience that traditionally would have only attended in the evenings or at weekends. And this audience was very appreciative. There was a Q&A after the show and people were happy to give feedback, ask questions and talk about their experiences.

Blooming was, the programme notes tell us, originally conceived as a sequel to Groomed, the story of abuse, which ran away with all the top accolades at The Brighton Fringe Awards last year.

Although Sandford says during the show that Blooming isn’t a sequel to Groomed, it does feel as if it is. I wondered what audience members who hadn’t seen Groomed felt as if they were missing out on some information? But this is still a strong show, featuring two established and strong performers and I hope to see Sandford’s next show at the Fringe in 2018. 

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Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
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Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
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The Blurb

Patrick Sandford asked 100 people "How do you know when you are happy?" The answers - provocative, kaleidoscopic, astonishing - jump-started this crazy, optimistic-in-spite-of-everything show. Can we ever really shift our troubles, even our trauma? You must be joking. Can happiness be a key? Well it ain’t always easy but you have to try it on for size. Patrick's 2016 show 'Groomed' won three major Brighton Fringe awards for theatre. Don't miss this one! Note: one lucky audience volunteer at each performance will receive a full professional neck massage. No obligation.

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