Festival Theatre

BORDERLINE Repetitive beat poetry 00..

The Stone Roses come on, and over in the corner there’s always one monged fella pivoting off the wall. He starts monkey-dancing closer like he thinks he‘s Ian Brown, gurning and chewing his face off with the pills. He’s pointing at you. He‘s looking you straight in the eye and, although you try to shrug him off he’s coming over, right up close, facing off you, no getting away, and yes, he’s going to talk.

And for once, at least if you’re in the audience of Rob Benson’s brilliant one-man piece about drug—induced psychosis, you’re going to listen.

Benson was moved to write Borderline after observing the ‘come downs’ suffered by some of his friends once the Ecstasy-induced party of acid house and Madchester had ended. It’s the story of one man who’s managed to spend his 18th, 21st and 30th birthdays in mental health wards after being diagnosed with borderline schizophrenia having taken too many drugs as a teenager; his rehabs, his relapses. In character so convincing that one audience member checking her programme after the show was moved to complain that it wasn’t autobiographical, Benson prowls the empty stage, evoking nightclubs, council flats and the sour smoking rooms of hospitals with just a snap of his mood and a perfectly timed lighting cue. He talks non-stop throughout, and it’s beautiful, as he lapses in and out of fast-paced rhyming verse reminiscent of Mike Skinner at his best. He also manages to play with your expectations of mental health patients, leaving you aware of your own ignorance and unconscious prejudice.

It’s important to note that this isn’t a preachy, anti-drugs show. There’s nothing didactic about Borderline; it just asks for your ears and empathy for 50 minutes. (Kirstin lnnes)

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admirable. it's hard to uncover what Arnfield's intention actually is. And. while she is undeniably a talented performer. you're left wondering why she has chosen this particular history to showcase her talents.

iGreer Ogstoni

I /»’/easance Courtyard. 5:36 (55:30. urifi/Q.’§/tug (not 74), 2.30pm,

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THE SIX WIVES OF TIMOTHY LEARY Surprising glimpses into a controversial life 000

It's a tragedy of our age that the (50s. a period of unparalleled liberation and social progress for ordinary people. is portrayed today as a kind of absurd sell indulgence from which we were all lucky to reco\.ier. lhis piece goes a little way to rectifying this error by exploring one of the periods most memorable figures.

timothy l eary's life is retold here through the words of the six life partners who followed him through his co:itr‘o\.rer'sial adventures. From his strait laced first wrfe. who is riddled with suburban anxrety. through a series of models. revoltitionaries. hippies and intellectuals. the six women give accounts of this no doubt at times infuriating man.

limothy l lughes' minimalist production of Philip de (Souvra's piece takes the form of a straightforward series of monologues told in flashback. the sequences broken up by brief glim )f;(}f; of leary's funeral. which the women are all attending. We catch surprising glimpses of I eary's early. relatively conservative years as an academic. before movrng on to his experiments wrth psychedelic drugs and years of political actrvrsrn and imprisonriient, At times you wrsh that the more tabloid friendly moments of his life were given less emphasis than his serious contribution to psychology

in the 50s, as well as his politics thereafter. but this amounts to an entertaining evening of theatre. with some well delivered performances. most notably some deft. nuanced playing from l-letty Abbot and lisa Came as leary's first two wrves. lSteve Crameri

I P/(2.’is;ririr;r) Dome, 566 (5:550, until ’23) Aug (not 15)). 5pm, 5.8- 5‘!) (5.61.507 57.50).


Tragedy for the dotcom generation .0.

\Johnny i/\sh f laridei'si just wants to be someone. and online he can be anyone he wants. What starts out as a humorous look at socialising in the digital era svriftly morphs into a dark analysis of our atomised society.

After a chance online rneetrng with the object of his desire. stud footballer 'lvlarkymark'. .Johnny heads into a downward spiral of complex lies and multiple characters.

Struggling with his sexuality. he finds release coiririiuiiicating with Markymark by creating a female character. ,Jess, lliis leads to a convoluted scenario invoIVing fictitious characters such as little brother I eo. .Jane Bond and agent 1/695). lhis escapism is a powerful temptation and Johnny's ability to indulge completely in his constructed reality is. somehow. eerily recognisable.

Yvonne Virsik's production unfolds in front of a computer screen with projections of .Johnny's fragmented thoughts on the backdrop. l landers' representation of this disturbed teen is compelling ialthough his accent can be distracting). Based on a true story this is an intense exploration of the dark side of the teen psyche. scattered with sharp humour as the protagonist teaches us online chat abbrevrations and we lt()l l . or at the very least I ()l . it‘ireei ()gstoiii I /’/e.'is.'ince Home, fiat; mar), irritrr’ (’5) Aug (not Mr, ."..”:'),')rii. 5‘8 5‘5) 5‘/I_.")(),r.