Boy meets girl. Boy is an actor, working on a show based around anger and Shakespeare’s text from various plays. Joe Sellman-Leava (writer and performer in this one man show) takes this idea and uses it for the basis of telling his tale, weaving in and out of different personas and voices. This is a true story; parts of it anyway…

Sellman-Leava commands the space well and takes us on a journey, but we perhaps get a little lost on the way.

Joe Sellman-Leava’s voice is great. His impressions of people (whether we know them or not) are pretty good, and as a device it works. Sometimes it is easier to use other people’s words to express ourselves. When the red mist descends Joe (played by Sellman-Leava) snaps in and out of the different characters, using their real words, and Shakespeare’s, to add to the story.

The small space is used very well, with careful placing of chairs at exactly the right moment to let us know where and when we are in time and place. The lighting is perfect. We snap in and out of spotlights at exactly the right point. The backlit sections are particularly effective, creating and building the tension where necessary.

The idea is good. Anger is a difficult thing to deal with, whether male or female, and using many different people’s voices to help tell the story works. The rehearsal sections with Tim the director are particularly good, as Sellman-Leava switches effortlessly between three characters, in three different accents. It does, however, feel about five minutes too long. Midway through we lose a little bit of steam, but as the tale begins to unravel we pick up momentum and race to the finish line.

Any actor or director will appreciate this show, recognising themselves and others in the characters; luckily the Edinburgh Festival Fringe has many roaming its streets. Sellman-Leava commands the space well and takes us on a journey, but we perhaps get a little lost on the way. 

Reviews by Emily Jane Kerr

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The Blurb

'This is a story about a boy, and a girl. Some of the story is true. Some of it isn't. And I'm not going to tell you which is which... ' What happens to us as the red mist descends? Everyone has felt the prickle of anger, so why do some men lash out while others stay in control? Monster is a thrilling new performance about violence and masculinity, from internationally-acclaimed Worklight Theatre. Written and performed by Joe Sellman-Leava (winner of the Fringe First Award for Labels).

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