REVIEW: Edgar and Me, ZOO @ Southside, Edinburgh Fringe

Edgar and Me is a piece focusing on a relationship between a pair of unlikely pen-pals; Charlotte, a young British woman, and Edgar, an American death row inmate. A beautiful narrative concept is clearly underlying this piece, exposing the common humanity of two people who seem so disparate, however, the theatricality of the piece in its current state is underdeveloped, and requires more texture in order to encourage an investment in the characters and their journeys.

A one woman show, lasting almost an hour, the piece leads us through the correspondence between Edgar and Charlotte, stopping along the way to give further insight into their relationship. The use of Edgar’s letters as a method of introduction and explanation is an interesting narrative device, but the profundity of language, without dramatisation, started to lose meaning through it’s repetition.

The most fascinating moments of the piece come with the more interactive and meta-theatrical elements; a box of polaroids are passed around the theatre, pictures of Edgar and his artwork. To hold these snapshots in your hands, as an audience member, truly brings the story to life, bring the revelation that this is a real person, and a real story, being discussed, in development I would hope that this element be further utilised to demonstrate the important message of the story; the common humanity, and need for connection, that we all crave.

The passion of the performer allowed for scattered moments of authenticity, but the psychology of the relationship, other than its practicalities, are largely overlooked. This piece is a starting point for a truly brilliant deconstruction, but at present lacks the boldness to pull apart the complexities of the relationship, requiring both distance and intimacy between its participants, which are necessary and unavoidable in its continuance.