ED2022 5/5 Reviews ED2022 Theatre Reviews

Opal Fruits (Holly Beasley-Garrigan / Pleasance / Bristol Old Vic)

By | Published on Sunday 14 August 2022

There are many good autobiographical solo shows on the Fringe. For me, this is a cut above: wider-ranging and more deeply theatrical, subversive and challenging. For sure there is a well-told story here about writer-performer Holly Beasley-Garrigan’s upbringing in poverty. She wants us to feel the warmth, humour and toughness of it, but even more to avoid theatrical cliché and untruthful sentiment. In this skilled, funny, angular performance she seeks to contextualise her own success, constantly stepping outside the role to question herself – and implicitly the audience too – about theatre’s own role in an unequal society. She’s clear she has no full answer, but this entertaining and cleverly constructed show declines some familiar escape routes. Excellent.

Pleasance Courtyard, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Alan Cranston]