Adelaide Fringe

Fringe Review: England & Son

A gripping, emotive piece of physical and political theatre

A gripping, emotive piece of physical and political theatre

Presented by: Holden Street Theatre’s Edinburgh Fringe Award ’23 in association with Home Manchester and Tin Cat Entertainment

Reviewed: 14 February, 2024

When it comes to awarding Holden Street Theatre’s Edinburgh Fringe Award every year, Martha Lott gets it right each and every time. This year’s winner (for the 2023 Edinburgh Festival), England & Son, is no exception – it is a superb piece of dramatic theatre.

Ed Edwards’ script formed from his experience in prison and performer Mark Thomas’ childhood is very dark but with some great humour, love and biting political comment on the shape of England today. Although set in the era of Margaret Thatcher, the problems explored (patriarchal approval, theft, drugs, violence and homelessness) are unfortunately still running riot in this day and age. And although the setting is England, these problems of the human condition and welfare are happening the world over, even right here and now in little ol’ Adelaide.

Director Cressida Brown seems to have wisely allowed Thomas almost free, but well controlled, reign of his character and space. His is the most energetic and fast paced performance of any actor I have seen in a one-person show. From an explosive, manic beginning to the harrowing, shocking finish Thomas grabs the audience by the throat and doesn’t let go. His performance is electrifying.

This is not a ‘light’ show by any means but there are some fun bits to allow us to remember that we are still in a theatre. Thomas’ charm comes beautifully into play for those bits.

England & Son is a brilliant piece of physical theatre, winning awards in England, and I’m quite sure it will take home a slew of them from here.

Reviewed by Brian Godfrey

Photo credit: supplied

Venue: Holden Street Theatres – The Studio
Season: 13 Feb – 17 March 2024
Duration: 60 mins
Tickets: $28 – $34

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