Dark humour can be a bit hit-or-miss. One-woman shows can be a bit hit-or-miss.
It is commendable that the company avoided going down the easy route
Popcorn Productions have brought Zero to Edinburgh this year. A one-woman show telling this story of a sexual abuse survivor, as she tries to forget everything at her 21st birthday party. Beth reasons to the audience how her life has turned out this way while trying to light a fag. She effortlessly dips between different characters that have impacted her life. The show starts off hilarious but by the halfway point becomes increasingly dark and emotionally loaded.
Beautifully written by emerging playwright Rachel Ruth Kelly, the text provides a nuanced insight into the mentality of a girl struggling to be herself. Although issues of mental health and sexual violence are discussed in no uncertain terms, the writing is kept fairly light. This makes the show highly watchable, rather than simply horrifying. It is commendable that the company avoided going down the easy route of using these issues as shock factor, instead opening up a genuine dialogue of the experience of survivors and the complex emotions they can face. The horror of the show comes from it being all too real, thanks to beautifully poignant writing and an outstanding performance. Although Zero may not be the feel-good show of the Fringe, it opens up a very important conversation.