Brighton FringeDramaReviewSouth East

BRIGHTON FRINGE: Thorn – Sweet Dukebox

Writer: Thom Jordan
Reviewer: Ruby Isla Cera Marle

Thorn is a superb one-man show written and performed by Thom Jordan. There’s an unshakable honesty and grit to his delivery, as he takes inspiration from his own childhood growing up as the son of a minister in Australia and skillfully interweaves his own upbringing with the real-life scandal of a minister who faked having leukemia.

Thorn is extremely well paced, Jordan begins by introducing Paul, a happy-go-lucky chap who is instantly likeable, at first it feels like the audience may have stumbled into a comedy gig rather than a one-man play. The ease that Jordan feels onstage transmits to the audience and a rapport is soon established. A dynamic which is tested throughout Thorn as he asks us questions, and later we transform into Paul’s captive congregation as he sermonises with gusto-filled intensity.

Thorn is raw and fearless, as it tackles taboo topics such as greed, religious exploitation, hypocrisy and a preacher’s abuse of power over an impressionable congregation. As is the culture of any fringe festival the audience numbers fluctuate, and despite only having sparse numbers, Jordan performs with such conviction and boundless energy as if he were addressing a room of hundreds – a testament to Jordan’s professionalism and commitment to sharing this tale.

The staging is simple, with a set of brown chairs and a clothing rail at the back of the stage containing various costumes to help signify different stages of Paul’s life. Taking the one man show mantra a little further Jordan also acts as his own stage manager cueing his own music. Which in turn only adds to the authenticity of the production.

In many many ways Thorn feels like a very special piece of theatre, like you’ve discovered the most beautiful shell in among the pebbles on Brighton beach. No doubt that this won’t be the last we see of either Thom Jordan or Thorn.

Runs until 22 May 2016 | Image: Contributed

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