A show unlike anything I’ve seen before, Wildcard Theatre bring award-winning Electrolyte back to the Fringe for a second year running. Performed by six incredibly talented multi-instrumentalists, this example of gig theatre effortlessly combines music, spoken word, theatre and storytelling with a powerful message about mental health.
An absolutely stunning, heart-wrenching and exquisitely made show
Every performer is exemplary, but Olivia Sweeney’s performance as main character Jessie is mindblowing. Conveying every single emotion in a convincing, sometimes harrowing way, we are brought into her world of friends, family and pain. The music not only supplements the story but enhances it, giving it a whole new quality and allows the audience to relate and understand the characters better. From booming and blasting rave music, to the soul singing of Allie Touch (played by Maimuma Memon) to the cold silence of mental breakdown, the aural world is utilised to the absolute fullest and this makes Electrolyte an absolute delight to watch.
Music also demonstrates mental illness and recovery in a realistic and emotional way, particularly a mental illness that isn’t just depression or anxiety. Although mental health is becoming much more talked about now, often mental illnesses that aren’t “mainstream” are still taboo, including eating disorders, personality disorders and psychotic conditions. Electrolyte manages to hook the audience in with its powerful accompaniments, allowing us to see the extent of Jessie’s illness slowly but surely as the music gets more and more desperate until it becomes silence. As she recovers, we hear soft melodies and electric violins, and I am brought to tears by the power in the room. We are instructed to raise a toast to our friends, the ones who keep us alive, and despite not having a drink with me I raise my hand, my eyes still blurry from tears. Electrolyte dives into a place deep inside I rarely venture, making me feel emotions I didn’t even know I had.
If you see one show at the Edinburgh Fringe this year, make it Electrolyte. An absolutely stunning, heart-wrenching and exquisitely made show, you can’t miss it. But bring tissues as there won’t be a dry eye in the house.