Eastlake Productions brings a new, fast-paced and gritty one-man show to the Fringe that takes a dark look at one teenager's attempt to delay the inevitable and find a better life for him and his loved ones in a world that is constantly against him.
There are moments of true sublime beauty in the narrative.
Our unnamed narrator tells us his family’s story. Living on the never never in a decaying housing estate, he is forced to look after his younger sibling due to his mother's alcoholism and recent mental breakdown, with his father nowhere in sight. Despite trying his best, the authorities are coming to break the family up, but fearing for his future our young protagonist escapes with his little brother in tow, and the two try to outrun the harsh realities that the world has in store for them.
The play begins with the interesting decision to tell its story in verse, which is a bold choice and one that if done badly could really hamstring the play. Here however the verse is weaved seamlessly into the performance and it lends the script a poetic lyrical quality that is beautifully contrasted with the harsh, ugly, and grim realities of the boys' lives. The artificiality of the verse is never allowed however to impinge on the grimy realism that the play’s story seeks to portray. Indeed the bleak vision of run-down working-class estates sinking into degradation and pessimism is a sobering one, and the show walks the fine line of honestly representing the realities of this harsh environment without descending into 'poverty porn'.
George Edwards' stellar performance as our anti-hero does a wonderful job of grounding the wordy verse in such a way as to sound natural and conversational coming out of a person’s mouth. He brings a youthful energy and blustering confidence in his portrayal, yet imbeds a sense of real pain and vulnerability into his character - a young man made to shoulder responsibility above his years who has become acutely aware that he’s been denied a good start in life and struggles to give those opportunities to his brother.
It is this emotional core that makes the show so engaging, and there are moments of true sublime beauty in the narrative. Yet the show stumbles here and there; Edwards can afford to bring a bit more range to his emotional displays of anger, and the narrative, particularly at the show’s beginning, can feel rushed, not giving us enough time to really immerse ourselves in the world it’s creating.
Still Fcuk’d is a gem of a show. Beautifully written and wonderfully performed, it is a real Fringe treat well worth your while checking out this Festival.