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Edinburgh Fringe 2022

52 Souls

Chronic Insanity

Genre: Fringe Theatre, New Writing

Venue: ZOO Playground - Playground 3


Low Down

An audience member is asked to shuffle a deck of cards. Each card relates to a tale which the two performers has rehearsed, and they are placed on a table to allow the actors to pick up and find out what comes next. For our performance in the 50 minutes allotted we got a variety of monologues which varied in style as much as in the effect they had. Some – including an ill fated raid to collect scrap and the story of the Aztecs and Death – had sufficient charm to show that we have a very skilled duo.
It is a bold claim to have 52 stories to tell – especially if you surrender control over their order, or even picking the ones that are in. At the end both actors talk of the ones we missed, and we can assume, on trust, that they have managed to learn all 52 between them. It is just that this time they were unable to get through the ones they mention. With so many monologues they were always going to vary in quality and the two I loved were the very first one about the nuclear waste which set up the tragedy and the drama of it all perfectly alongside the perfectly poised sadness of losing your mother, even though she may now be pulling the sundown every night, working only half a day. The one I did not like so much was the one involving the online computing. In between included a monologue with a puppet and door security.


If the scripts are going to be variable, then the performances cannot afford to be. Here they were very good. Both actors took on a variety of roles and managed to give each the requisite gravitas and managed to provide the set up and the endings well. I worried about the set ups, perhaps because I thought we might have all 52 to get through, but I needn’t have worried. Not only were we not going through all 52, I think I could have sat and watched all 52 if I had to.
Their all white costume was perfect for the piece, with a nod to a ghostly experience and the removal of the possibility of being judgmental, it brought the right level of respect to the subject matter. The recorded piece for the King of Clubs, was good enough but I was sorry it had not been another live performance.
Overall, this had a lot to commend it. The potluck variety of the show is perhaps the issue for me. Ironic that the jeopardy of the premise should perhaps be its downfall. Whilst the structure provides a new show every time but then the ebb and flow will be uncontrollable. I felt that the beginning was strong, there were highlights throughout but not having a more traditional feel meant that it was a hostage to its own fortune.


Show Website

Chronic Insanity