ED2014 3/5 Reviews ED2014 Theatre Reviews

Mental (The Vacuum Cleaner)

By | Published on Saturday 23 August 2014

With the audience driven to a secret location, plied with tea and tucked under bedsheets, this performance piece has an intimate feel from the outset. In his touching one- man show, James Leadbitter – aka artist-activist ‘the Vacuum Cleaner’ – recounts his years of anticapitalist protest, suicide attempts, and struggles with mental illness. He’s a strong performer, forging a clear connection with the crowd despite the play’s often harrowing content. Though deeply personal and profoundly moving, it’s held up by a slow pace and an over-reliance on documentation, lagging as we’re calmly talked through a decade’s worth of paperwork. There’s no denying Leadbitter’s commitment or bravery, but a tighter structure could significantly improve this as a piece of theatre.

Pleasance Pop-Up: The Bedroom, until 24 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Dave Fargnoli]