Brutal Edinburgh Festival Fringe performance by Nigel Francis, recounting abuse and redemption
This article is from 2014.
Alone, with nothing but a bottle of beer in hand, One draws short, sharp swigs from the bottle. His muscular, tribal-tattooed, black-clad body hunches over a tape recorder, this whirring machine his only witness. He is checking the level of the recording – it is important that it hears what he has to say: ‘It needs to be said because it needs to be out. I need it to be out’.
The semi-autobiographical script by Geoff Thompson charts the recounting of abuse, torment and a lifetime spent longing for painlessness. Thompson’s vivid detailing evokes a punishing effect, sealed by Nigel Francis' sinisterly powerful performance. Francis as One paces furiously, tracing patterns across the floor as he holds court, skirting from the tales of Lord Krishna to relentless cycles of recounting the trauma that has come to define his waking nightmares.
The direction by Francis and Thompson reaches a brutal crescendo, igniting Francis’ seething performance as One arcs further and further towards silence. The darkly evocative material returns repeatedly to specific triggers: names like mum, dad and teacher, and phrases like the hauntingly bitter ‘everything that happens to me is good’.
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