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

Greenside @ Infirmary Street

Queer Words

★★★
Summerhall

Pussy Riot: Riot Days

★★★★★
Traverse Theatre

On the Exhale

★★★★
Summerhall

The Egg Is a Lonely Hunter

★★★
Traverse Theatre

Meek

★★★★
C venues – C cubed

The Unbinding

★★★★

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.