Zero

Dark humour can be a bit hit-or-miss. One-woman shows can be a bit hit-or-miss. Zero is lurking in extremely dangerous territory. But tackling sensitive subjects is an important part of what makes great theatre and what the Fringe is all about. Zero succeeds in facing this treacherous challenge boldly and creatively.

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.

Reviews by Gillian Bain

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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.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

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 £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
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Performances

Location

The Blurb

'Lying little bitch, as if anyone would shag her?' Beth’s drunk outside a Leeds nightclub. She wants a fag. She doesn't even smoke, she just needs to escape her 21st birthday party. Her dad’s dancing to Aerosmith, the DJ’s really shite and her best friend’s getting off with anyone and everyone. But that can't be the whole story, can it? Dark, funny and poignant, this one-woman show takes Beth apart, piece by piece. Bringing to life nine characters, Beth would rather be anyone but herself. Following 2015's five-star success with Submarine, Popcorn Productions return to Edinburgh with Zero.

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