Edinburgh Fringe 2018
Yasmin feels different, she feels Weird. She longs to be normal like everyone else but it’s proving difficult. Weird shines a spotlight on OCD and it’s often misunderstood effects on both the sufferer and their families.
Cheesy pop songs greet us and we wander into the Pleasance Bunker 2. It lulls the audience members into a happy, floaty disposition with no idea of the rabbit hole they’re about to be dragged down.
Yasmin, excellently played by Amy Rose Doyle (The Crown), has just come home early from Uni. Her mum is telling everyone she’s graduated early but that’s not the inconvenient truth, Yasmin has been asked to leave because she isn’t mentally strong enough to continue on her course. She’s been forced to come home, come home to Bolton and confront old demons. These demons take many forms, whether that be the tormenting boy who used to kick her chair in school who seems to be doing a better job of adulting than her, a nosey neighbour, an overbearing mother, an absent friend or even the disembodied voice screaming from inside her own skull.
Yasmin takes us on a journey through her life from when the first whispers of OCD start to appear at the tender age of 6 that seem cute initially to adult life where they have manifested to dangerous levels encompassing an eating disorder, self harm and the breakdown of her relationships with family and friends. This crippling and ugly disorder twists her self view and self worth making it impossible to move forward and leaving her on a precipice not knowing which way to turn.
The exhausting pretence of her everyday life is very powerful to watch, just barely managing to exhibit the bare minimal of normal to stop her family from worrying too much but forcing the emotional gulf between them wider and wider. Yasmin feels the guilt and the burden of that more than anyone but that also hinders her from being able to seek the help she so desperately needs. The bunke’rs low roof and increasing heat levels added to the oppressive feel of the piece.
The performance outshines the writing at times and it would have been nice to see Yasmin delve deeper into her issues to allow the audience to understand more about this debilitating illness and how to combat it. It would also have been nice to have a more developed ending. The set is simple, yet efficient however I think there could have been a better use of the space especially as the stage is in thrust. Stylistically there could have been more achieved with the set changes and a slight adjustment of the blocking is all that’s required to keep all of the audience included in the story. These however are small changes in what is a very enjoyable and enthralling solo show.
This play certainly shines a light on issues that need to be discussed and understood in a darkly funny and engaging way. A thoroughly enjoyable and highly recommended hour of theatre, just take a fan.