Gari Jones/Mercury Theatre Colchester/Escalator East to Edinburgh
Gryphon at the Point Hotel
Even on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, it is unlikely that you will find anything quite like Wretch. Imagine Marilyn Manson given an hour to indulge himself and told to be excessive and you have some idea of this remarkable performance.
This solo show may have been written, directed and performed by Gari Jones but the design and animation will strike some as its strongest suit.
Amy Yardley has created a fearsomely depressing room that looks like the interior of a derelict building waiting for demolition. On to the back wall, beautiful projections animated by Vanja Sheremetkoski try to make some sense of what happens in front of them and inject some welcome lightness.
Wretch is more nihilistic rant than anything else, although there is some reflection on love as well as an exciting, heavy rock soundscape. Fronting this is Jones, heavily tattooed and scarred thanks to self-harming tendencies.
There is no question that much of the text is poetic. Whether much of it has any deep meaning may be more debatable.
If you assume that this is a chance to watch a drug-crazed potential suicide pondering his fate, such an image may provide some feel of what is in store for visitors to Wretch.
Reviewer: Philip Fisher