These stories shared are raw, honest and  just about every other cliche you could throw at them, but, as with cliches, they  are only truths which we all relate to. This performance talks about the awkwardness of our youth,  of growing up and feeling out of place, while it also eloquently dips its toes into more murky waters, opposing its raucous humor with some darker tones, laced with racism and self harm. For such a young ensemble, they show incredible bravery and a kind of maturity, wild beyond years.

Taking the familiar format of a talk show works effectively within this binary, it’s engaging stuff -working backwards through memory from 21 down to infancy. Audience participation begins from before the performance and continues throughout, while in closing scenes it also breaks from this mode, giving moment for director Katrina Cornwall’s background in physical theatre to shine. For the most part its form and function are effective, however shaving just 5-10 minutes from the run time might be worth considering, and provide for a punchier experience

The fact that a work like this, be  bold enough to give space to young voices in such an uncompromising manner is a triumph and proves that, not just within the sector, but in society more generally, if we were to allow for such opportunities, we could gain, greatly. Young voices go too often ignored, but in this heightened state which the world now finds itself, it’s these voices we need more than to hear those of stale politicians and decision makers in parliament.

Lovely Mess, 48 Stories Of Shame is an amazing piece of theatre, and if you only see one show this Fringe, be it this one.


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