Bethany Black returns to the Fringe with another confessional show about her life, with a positive message relayed through tragic stories. Having already dealt with her transsexual lesbianism in last year’s show, she now bares her soul about her addictions to alcohol, drugs and destructive relationships.
These are heavy topics to deal with as an act and as an audience member but Bethany’s assured delivery and confident acceptance of her failings creates the comfortable atmosphere which gives her licence to discuss the darker side of her life.
With some back story about her difficult upbringing in a small town and the reactions of her peers to her alternative lifestyle, we move on to the issues that have led her to write this hour.
With only Jerry Springer guests as role models, and a dark depression looming over her, she turned to drink and a stream of relationships that were her lifeline to happiness regardless of how damaging they were.
Dark as this sounds Black has a knack of turning the tragedy into comedy with hilarious tales of first date mishaps that leave the audience blushing on her behalf but laughing uproariously.
There are occasional slips in form with segments like the childhood photo of her drinking her dad’s beer feeling overly long, and slipped into the narrative to extend the story. Much more interesting are the exploits of the recently dumped Black scorching her ex’s name into a lawn using burning lard.
This is very personal stuff and with such unique insights and anecdotes it makes for an interesting and poignant hour that is entertaining and honest, but not consistently funny. It is always moving, though, and you feel you get a genuine snapshot into Black’s compelling background.
Black concludes that the needless resentment she has carried in her life has damaged her and her relationships, and moulded her addictive personality. Only with this realisation she has found the strength to move on.
This show may be therapy for Black but the chance to gain some happiness has been extended to her audience, which leads to a beautiful, inventive and incredibly moving climax that has to be experienced. It may not be comedy, but life-affirming, it certainly is.
Cory Shaw- Chortle