John Partridge: Stripped review at Assembly Checkpoint, Edinburgh – ‘cathartic, celebratory cabaret’

John Partridge, Stripped, Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh John Partridge, Stripped, Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh
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John Partridge has a lot to be grateful for. A career of note that spans both stage and the small screen and a family who love him. Yet an addictive personality combined with a series of personal tragedies meant things gradually spiralled out of control. He is celebrating 300 days of being sober and reaches that goal with an Edinburgh Fringe debut in John Partridge: Stripped.

It has evidently been an emotional journey for Partridge, who spends much of the show in tears. Thankfully he has the support on stage of the talented Emma Lindars and, together, they negotiate the highs and lows of his life in song and dance.

In fairness, it’s an interesting and eclectic set, carefully chosen and arranged to suit Partridge’s not inconsiderable gifts as a vocalist. The lyrics are not crisp, but the voice has power, range and emotion.

If anything, it’s the emotion he needs to get under control. Partridge wears his heart defiantly on his sleeve, or rather he would do if he ever put a shirt on. It’s difficult not to root for him, but the hyperbole grates after a while and damages the message, and possibly the sincerity of an otherwise great cabaret.

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Cathartic, celebratory cabaret that struggles emotionally