Rosie Fleeshman could so nearly be the Adele of performance poetry.
Both women write about events which surround the landmark ages in their lives. Thankfully, where the similarity ends is that Fleeshman doesn’t wail on (and on) about the difficult times. Even when she’s talking about loneliness, depression and the disappointments of becoming an actress, there’s no time to wallow too long in self pity. In just the flick of a lighting change, she’s already moved on to different tale in the life of her character, struggling not just with the trials of being a desperate thespian, but also with life itself.
It’s interesting to ponder how just how much of this show is auto-biographical. It feels like that the bulk of Narcissist in The Mirror, showing as part of the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival, comes from personal or observed experience as Fleeshman‘s impressive rapid-fire delivery could only be achieved by someone 100 per cent invested in the content. Hilarious spins are put on her experiences of sibling rivalry and dating someone with a poor grasp of grammar, and they are easy to identify with which allows the show to hit the comedy bullseye time and again.
A one-woman show can seem like a self-indulgent notion, but this ‘narcissist’ makes full use of the construct and employs it to its fullest advantage. As a result, the audience is right behind her from the start. The idea of a monologue delivered in verse could seem off putting, but fears are quickly dispelled as Fleeshman effortlessly makes life rhyme to the extent that you’re not always aware that she’s doing it. It takes real skill to make something so hard look relatively easy. The fact that she only started writing last year as a means of generating her own work makes this well-constructed, entertaining piece even more impressive. The audience was clearly in agreement, delivering a standing ovation at the end.
A trial run in the Spring and these Greater Manchester Fringe shows have been a sell-out success. Hopes of moving forward to a full tour must be high, so keep a watchful eye on the show coming your way as it’s a highly enjoyable way to spend an hour.
The Greater Manchester Fringe festival runs until July 31, 2017. Tickers are now on sale.