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Edinburgh Fringe 2023


Beyond Borders / Zuzana Spacirova

Genre: Comedy, Solo Show

Venue: thespace@ Surgeon’s Hall


Low Down

A woman runs onstage to catch her train, only to find out that she has missed it and will now have to wait 7 minutes for the next one. In that 7 minutes she tells us the tale of how she has ended up here – the moving from home, ending up in London, the actress trying to make her way, the waitressing, the moves around London and the relationships, all until the love she craved, she finds and then turns her back on.


This has a lot of things in it which are very interesting and tell a very important tale – of following your dreams, even if you are unsure of what they are.

As a narrator and storyteller, Spacirova is very good. She has the ability, not just to draw you in and show her vulnerability when telling something which is clearly semi-autobiographical but can also see where her character may have flaws and embrace them.

Her vulnerability, which comes from ending up in an office job is well worked towards. Given her slight comic touch when she asks what else an Eastern European girl would do for money in UK, and we all had a single thought, it avoids going down a doom laden misery memoir. For that reason, the opportunity for Spacirova to delve into her own real issues rather than hold onto the clichés we were thinking, strengthens the narrative. The wide eyed optimism she has when she first arrives is never far from her and when she ends up deciding not to take the train but possibly return home, it is a fascinating ending. Again, rather than just take the train home, it is contextualised by travel: she was desperately waiting for a train at the beginning being the one thing she rejects by the end. It’s a clever way of packaging the idea of running away – until you decide to run towards something.

Along with her performance, the script does at times meander a little but tries to keep to the formula and the format of a travelogue, delivered whilst standing at the side of a station, waiting for a train. The irony and backdrop are both good.

In terms of direction, it does have little by way of shade and there could be more thought given to whether moving from side to side is all that you can deliver, though the drunken night with a gin bottle does bring the chaos of her time to the fore.

Technically, aside from the voiceover and some lighting changes, there is very little added to the production. It is, however, unneeded. Any more than the minimal effects would have spoilt it.

Overall, it has a lot of great elements within it and yet, it does not quite totally convince. It is an interesting take on a Runaway and rather than being a clichéd and desperate fleeing from some form of oppression: this is a nuanced exploration. That nuance is at times well delivered but here are a few places where it could do with variety in approach and particular in direction, an opportunity to explore more than surface expectations.


Show Website

Zuzana Spacirova