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Edinburgh Fringe 2023

One Room Sleep One Night

Gravin Productions

Genre: Dark Comedy, Fringe Theatre, New Writing, Solo Performance

Venue: Gilded Balloon


Low Down

Follow Grant on an outrageous journey home from the mountains of Thailand, all while handling an undiagnosed neurological virus. Alone, phoneless, and on a motorcycle with four of his five senses slowly shutting down, he investigates the questions: what does it take to survive, when does suffering begin and how much can our sense of humor withstand? Zany, bizarre, yet deeply poignant, experience the powerful resilience of comedy in this true story about solitude, karaoke and just… getting… home.


Grant Lancaster is an adventurist. The home page of his website is divided into two sections, The Actor and The Racer, which is fitting since it was while biking through Thailand that Lancaster contracted a rare neurological virus that is the basis for his one-person show One Room Sleep One Night. 

The fact that Lancaster is in Edinburgh performing a late solo show is a bit of a spoiler that he did, in fact, survive the awful experience. That he has done so with the generous spirit he exudes in the recounting is a tribute to him and a warm invitation to the audience which goes on the hellish journey with him from the safety and comfort of their Gilded Balloon seats.

For a few crucial days in 2015, Lancaster found himself caught in a nightmare. His phone was out of service for a few days, he was alone, and after taking a few sips of coffee made from unpurified water while traveling through the mountains of northern Thailand, his body slowly started breaking down, tingling sensations leading quickly to paralysis in various parts of his body. What follows as he fights to survive and get home is harrowing, humorous, and, delightfully, occasionally bizarre.

Lancaster has a terrific true story to tell, and as the storytelling of this show is refined it could elevate quickly from good to great, but at the moment One Room Sleep One Night needs more focus and direction. My date for the evening rightfully complained about the amount of shouting Lancaster employed during the course of the show, and the created character of Morty, his fictional manager, would benefit from feeling less forced, an excuse to make apologies that aren’t necessary. Lancaster also employs videos and visuals so effective that they are missed when the screen goes dark. More of those would be welcome. 

Such is Lancaster’s natural charisma and charm that it’s the quieter, more relaxed moments of the show where he really shines and when the production triumphs. Stillness becomes him. As he recalls how his body broke down, it’s genuinely moving to hear how through this experience he gained a hard-earned understanding of how people with disabilities are too often treated. I won’t give away the significance and meaning of the play’s title as that’s one of the show’s great and most meaningful reveals, a show that with a bit more work and thought could transform into an undeniable ride into darkness, then light.