Brighton FringeDramaReviewSouth East

BRIGHTON FRINGE: About a Goth – Rialto Theatre

Writer: Tom Wells
Reviewer: Ruby Isla Cera Marle

Despite donning heavy black eyeliner, fishnet gloves, a top hat and a floor-length cloak, (all in his signature shade of black) Nick struggles to be taken seriously as a goth. He laments his cheerful upbringing with well-adjusted parents, reluctantly resorts to sleeping in an armchair due to the fact that despite his strongly worded letter Ikea don’t yet stock coffins and you’re more likely to find him listening to Steps than Metallica.

About a Goth, a one-man play by Tom Wells, is brought charismatically to life by Dominic Thompson. The first thing that strikes you about Nick, the wannabe goth, is, that despite being from Birmingham originally, he regales the room with a hyperbolic accent that sounds like a cross between Quentin Crisp and Stewie from Family Guy.

The play is peppered with witty one-liners such as “I ordered the mint frappuccino, the most gothic of drinks” and “the bus wasn’t due for another ten minutes so I decided to self-harm with my badge.” All of these quips are delivered by Thompson with excellent comedic timingand aplomb. Alongside poking fun at the societal perception of the moping teenage goth, there were also some more vulnerable and exposing moments. Such as his closeted relationship with his Brummie best friend Greg or when he volunteers in a care home and spends hours playing rummy with ailing resident Rod. Nick’s character is a vocal chameleon, who flits seamlessly between different accents and personas to evoke those that circumnavigate his life lurking in the shadows.

The simple staging of an armchair and a black duvet that doubles as both a cloak and a shroud works well. Blasts of Britney Spears, Steps and the Sugarbabes complete with an over enthusiastic dance routine, are an expected but amusing additions to About a Goth. When an excitable Nick is watching his parents’ historical reenactment, he seems quite young and childlike, whereas during his awkward exchange with his classmate Emma, who bluntly probes “Why are you a goff?” he seems older. Consequently, it is quite hard to place the protagonist’s age.

The death of a someone dear to him leaves Nick feeling emotionally flummoxed, as despite wanting to live a nihilistic existence devoid of any emotions, his loss causes him to start feeling ‘stuff‘ which he struggles to process emotionally. The final image of About a Goth is a powerful one, Nick has removed all the elements of his gothic getup and costume and is left naked on stage with a harsh spotlight and only a black duvet to cover his modesty. Beneath the gothic Noel Fieldingesque caricature, Nick is so much more than an emotionally stunted goth, he’s a vulnerable, insecure child that is contemplating painting his bedroom walls magenta.

Runs until20 May 2016 | Image: Contributed

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