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Orlando review at the Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh – ‘slight but charming’

Lucy Roslyn in Orlando at the Cellar, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh. Photo: Helen Maybanks

Lucy Roslyn describes her one-woman show as “an act of communion”. Not, she stresses, the kind of communion that involves bread and wine (although she does have a small glass of red during the course of the performance) but the kind that involves basic human interaction and connection.

This slight but charming show interweaves Virginia Woolf’s shape-shifting experimental novel, Orlando, with the performer’s personal story of a failed romance. The two narratives overlap slightly in theme, mainly in how Roslyn is exhausted by the concept of definitive labels when it comes to her sexuality and, more generally, tired of the accepted ways of living and being.

The whole piece has the air of a nervous but gloriously enthusiastic PhD student-teacher heading an English Lit seminar. As with that scenario, the major selling point is simply the fact Roslyn comes across as so damn nice, a fact that makes up for many of the work’s flaws.

This isn’t one of the glossier shows of this year’s fringe, but it is a nice reminder of the impact a bashed-up paperback with a broken spine can have on an eight-year-old – and the terrible regret of gifting your favourite book to an ex.

Do Our Best review at Underbelly Cowgate, Edinburgh – ‘bizarre and brilliant’

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Simple, stripped-back monologue with an engaging performance by its author