RUNT
Gilded Balloon at Teviot Row House, Edinburgh
August, 2001

**** One man addresses his problems with his father

Michael Phillip Edwards chose to grow up with his mother rather than his tyrannical Jamaican father. He shows us why.

I must begin my admitting to a general prejudice: I have problems in principle with autobiographical shows which, in the end, seem to be asking audiences to pay money in order to witness the performer's therapy. However warm, skilled and committed Edwards' performance is and it is all of these I cannot help but question the reason for the show's existence.

Having said that, I can still acknowledge that this is a remarkable piece of writing and performance. Edwards' father, according to this show, is a self-made man who can simply never admit to being wrong; Edwards himself, having been forced as a five-year-old to choose between this man and his mother, offers us a portrait not just of the man he rejected but of the burden which that rejection bestowed upon him as a child. In the small performance space, sweat pours off him in the course of the hour-long show. He brings insight and sensitivity to bear upon his subject matter, and even though the work is as much for his own and his son's benefit as for ours, the result is impressive.

Written for divento.com

Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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