Fringe theatre




Thoughts, we all think them. They even come in avalanches, apparently. Full Monty star Emily Woof makes a long-awaited return to the Fringe with a delectable dissection of how our thoughts create a different world for each of us. 

I’ll admit I’m not excellently versed in philosophy or neuroscience. But Woof’s creation is poignant and familiar. She talks to the audience with such warmth in tone so fluid – she has a voice like hot tea and honey. She’s chaotic, outlandish, but she’s soothing. I was hanging onto every word, my eyes and ears following her incessantly as she flitted around her small stage.

Her bountiful story follows Dotty (she’s Dotty) and her husband (also Dotty). He’s known to the wider world as David Chiltern: a renowned neuroscientist who’s been drafting his life’s work ahead of a lecture he’s delivering in Switzerland. They’re a pair consisting of opposites, the methodical and ever-logical David and then the sporadic and romantic Dotty. But they love and excite each other. Their relationship seems to be one of observance, both analysing the little quirks which make them different. David uses his wife’s brain as the model for his work, so his analysis goes quite deep. It begs the question: is she his project?

Woof embeds this nuanced realisation into her piece, as her character travels to Switzerland to deliver David’s lecture as he is ‘indisposed’, which is emotionally-stunted-man-speak for ill in bed with bad leg pain. It’s in Switzerland that we watch Woof unravel, just like the spools of yarn she threads around the space. She finds her absurdist agency and, overwhelmed by her abundant excitement for life, gives the lecture as she sees fit and then embarks upon adventure. This leads to David’s demise. It’s as though the pair can’t coexist, as one must excel but not the other.

It’s a symbolic look into compatibility and personality, with elevated intelligence and dramaturgy. It embraces abstract thinking and rational analysis, acknowledging that both bring their own sets of joy. The yarn not only shows her course of unravelling, but her sense of connection too: she feels affinity with Nietzsche’s house and escapes to dance there, just like he did, and reflect on what life means to her.

Blizzard is beautifully baffling with moments of small wonder and extraordinary achievement. It scurries between the meta, micro and macro issues of modern life. Such genius is prompted from the idea of giving an expert lecture you can’t understand. Even if you are the subject.

Until August 27