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Published on Friday, 18 May 2012

4 stars

Latest Music Bar (venue website)
13-14, 16 May, 6:00pm-7:00pm; 15 May, 2:00pm-3:00pm, 6:00pm-7:00pm
Reviewed by Lynne Morris

 Suitable for age 15+ only.
 2-for-1 tickets for Friends of the Fringe members.

Brian Capron delivers a wonderfully personal and exposed performance, in Gogol at the Manchester Street venue Latest Musicbar. A delicately crafted script by Richard Crane allows for interpretation, as the story leaps and hops absurdly between daily observations of the mundane, politics, dissatisfaction with life, love lost, fears for the future, and most frequently the horrors faced on a weekly basis: how to fill a Sunday.

With poignant moments straddling comedy and tragedy, this one-man show manages to entertain and, most importantly, hold your attention for its duration. In spite of the clear references to the words of Nikolay Gogol, the story is very much its own work and the use of central staging means that Capron appears to confide in the audience surrounding him on every side, mere inches away.
The circular, in-the-round stage is combined with a splendidly simple chandelier, that works to frame the largely seated performance. I had no idea that one stool could be used so effectively in a solo piece, yet Capron treats it like a faithful friend, as he spins and turns ensuring that the entire audience is welcomed into his subconscious. Nick Pynn's careful sound design also deserves a mention; it conveys the feeling of other performers and wistful memories, and picks up the pace just as things could begin to lull. 

The one disappointment is that the show was not as energetic as I had expected from its publicity; but still, the success of its presentation cannot be overlooked. With such pared-down design and reliance on one actor, director Faynia Williams has chosen a brave and telling way to present a piece that hit home for those in or approaching the uncertainty of retirement, and served to amuse those who perhaps have parents of a similar age.

Indeed ticket-holders were predominantly 50+, with the show providing sufficient material to keep one particular gentleman on the front row nodding in agreement for almost the entire hour. Still, the issues raised were both personally pertinent and largely universal so, along with the three other audience members under 30, I laughed in the right places and seemed as enthralled as the rest of the crowd.

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These are archived reviews of shows from Brighton 2012.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to performers, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.