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Edinburgh Fringe 2014

Half a Can of Worms

Deborah Frances-White

Genre: Character Stand up

Venue: Pleasance Dome


Low Down

An entertaining piece of documentary comedy tells the true story of Deborah Frances-White’s metamorphosis into a private investigator on the trail of her birth family. And how, having started, you can’t open half a can of worms…


Deborah Frances-White was adopted at ten days old and grew up in a positive and supportive family in Brisbane.  Despite being a very successful adoption, she started to wonder about her birth parents. Her parents always honest with her but at 18 she sort of felt she should just ask… as Australian law allows. Initially she didn’t pursue the little information that she had but gradually the urge to turn detective took over and the subsequent quest is the centre of this show.

In this beautifully written show her experience of gradually findings fragments of information, uncovering possible leads and exploring possible links provides a laughter filled hour. At the same time, in describing the particulars of her past she explores the generalities of wondering who you are, what is hidden, whether uncovering that world might just wreck carefully held dreams and fantasies.

It is just over an hour of following her story as it unfolds supported by projected images. Initially the pace feels a little slow but as the clues begin to build, the journey becomes more and more intriguing and we get caught up in the investigation willing her to succeed. Both fascinating and slightly disconcerting is realising just how much you can find out about someone from your desk or bedroom in Camden. She is at pains to point out that all of the images and information are in the public domain

She makes good use of the projection as we arrive and take our seats and to illustrate her findings as she searches.

Deborah Frances-White is a talented story teller and although the show starts in a light hearted way she gradually weaves in more reflective and serious moment as she reveals the impact of some of her findings. The pace is varied and the audience stayed engaged throughout. It takes twists and turns that would be hard to believe if it were fiction and has a surprising finish.

It is a thoroughly warm, engaging and feel good show. A perfect way to spend one of your fringe afternoons.

And ‘A little light googling’ is a phrase that deserves to enter the national vocabulary!



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