Edinburgh Fringe 2015
Donny Stixx wants to be a star at all costs. Well performed and crafted new play by Philip Ridley. Intense and personal solo show.
This is the World Premiere of Philip Ridley’s edgy new play, Tonight with Donny Stixx, which is the companion piece to Ridley’s 2013 Fringe First-winning sell-out Dark Vanilla Jungle. The play is directed by David Mercatali and performed by Sean Michael Verey who plays the sole character Donny Stixx. When he comes onstage Donny wants to tell us about the people in his life starting with Yvonne. His chatty style spoken directly to the audience and casual look in t-shirt and jeans make us feel comfortable, like friends – he’s an affable young fellow after all, cheeky too. Then he wants to tell us about Aunt Jess and his parents. This is all with electric fast dialogue faster than we can think; Verey switches between narration, dialogue and characters in a disarmingly realistic way – it’s impressive. Donny often performs magic shows, which has given him a taste for stardom. Here he is telling us about his hopes, dreams – and a few disappointments.
Verey’s personable manner and quick wit is admirable and compelling. He takes in every part of the audience in this well-structured one person play. With impeccable timing Verey unloads his character’s personality and frailties with commitment, endurance, emotion, vocal variety and physical action. It is an astute performance by Verey. Donny is a shy persona played with irony, sarcasm and naiveté who has flashes of explosive emotional outbursts. The language is interesting with a dark subtext full of intuitive observations. Donny Stixx vocalizes things you think but never say.
Interspersed throughout the play are several repeated quips which often bring humour to this piece, which is a welcome relief, at times. Verey is particularly effective when playing his Aunt Jess. She is kind and soft spoken, trying to no avail, to make Donny see reality, to understand what’s happening in the family and to react. Verey’s Aunt Jess voice is velvety and warm, we get the picture that she is a supportive being in Donny’s life – one of the few. But Donny Stixx has ambitions, big ambitions and he doesn’t want anything to stop him, for he is “Donny Stixx, the boy with tricks.” Even with all his forthright energy and ambition, Donny is actually fragile with many layers. Each layer delves deeper into his complex life until we know everything. You will need to go and see this performance for yourself to find out what happens.