Can't Stop Can't Stop (4 stars)

This article is from 2018

Can't Stop Can't Stop

credit: Giulia Delprato

Tough honesty on a personal condition

There are few shows at this year's Fringe that could be rawer or more unflinchingly honest than Sam Ross' at times harrowing examination of his own Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It doesn't make for an easy watch – at times it even feels like the audience is intruding on his private rituals and obsessions. But it's a compelling, illuminating experience, even if it offers few easy solutions.

Performed in the round, Ross' solo show explores current research and thinking on the condition – the division into obsessions and compulsions, the misfiring in the brain which cause them, and how talking therapy can help are all explored. But he places the theory within his own experience: how his condition began (and its surprising source), and most importantly the ticks and incessantly repeated actions that, provoked by unlikely factors, invade his everyday life. It's not all about relentless hand-washing. Ross also consistently blurs the line between performance and reality: at times it's as if the show itself is being interrupted by his unavoidable actions.

There are a few laughs, and a well-dispatched song. But Can't Stop Can't Stop is a serious, confrontational hour that feels as much like therapy for its performer, and challenging elucidation for its audience, as it does straightforward entertainment. In fact, they make it all the more powerful.

C royale, until 27 Aug (not 8, 13, 17, 20, 24), 4.35pm, £7.50–£9.50 (£4.50–£5.50).

Can’t Stop Can’t Stop

  • 4 stars

Sam Does Theatre A solo theatrical performance by Sam Ross, which aims to convey how it feels to live with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. A much-misunderstood yet debilitating condition, affecting 1.2% of the UK population and manifesting itself in disturbing intrusive thoughts, which compels its sufferers to perform…