Patrick McPherson at Edinburgh Fringe review | A colossal show

Patrick McPherson’s captivating one-man play about relationships, storytelling and acknowledging our true selves is hilarious, engrossing and surprising in equal measures.  



Irreverent one liners – “built like a fridge, with the brain of a microwave” – and recurring themes – what would happen if $5bn dollars was spent on the preservation of owls? – lead you into a jolly escapade, packed with playful jokes; but there’s an emotional depth to this play which will have you questioning your life choices, your love life and your integrity.

The play centres around a relationship we know is over. Dan has an hour to kill before he goes on a date, and he uses that time to guide us through the graveyard of his former flames. His most recent girlfriend, Sam’s tombstone looms largest and the story of their relationship is told hesitantly and in pieces, not chronologically. 

Creative staging means that while he’s alone on a bare stage, he’s also dancing reluctantly in a club, meeting the parents at a family barbecue and arguing with Sam in a cafe. Patrick’s is not the only play I’ve seen this fringe where an actor interacts with a pre-recorded voice, but it was the only one that convinced; not an easy feat to pull off. 

The play comes to life with imaginative lighting, music and sound effects, but it’s the writing that shines. The shape of the story, which shifts and contradicts itself, is both opaque and relatable. Razor sharp spoken word punctuates the plot and Patrick’s delivery is nimble and engaging. 

Like an engrossing book, you want to know what happens, but you don’t want this inventive play to end, and that is saying something at the fringe.

12:45 Belly Button, Underbelly Cowgate 

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