Pros: Rosie’s monologues reflecting on how she met her ex are beautifully heartfelt.
Cons: It is not a completely polished show, but this is part of its charm.
Sweet Dukebox, located in the Iron Duke pub, was the first stop on my day of theatre at the Brighton Fringe Festival. A walk along the beach to the venue made a nice change from dashing around London, and the venue was a lovely traditional pub with friendly staff and a small theatre at the back. It made a nice change to hear seagulls from outside rather than sirens. Rosie Wilby, star of her own show, was wandering around the pub before the start and introduced herself to most of the audience individually, explaining that as it was such a small space we should all get to know each other!
Rosie’s show takes a look at love and relationships, and particularly the way in which they end. Inspired by Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow’s LA therapist-style break-up, their ‘conscious uncoupling’, Rosie considers the kindest ways of being dumped. She asks the audience who has been dumped in the past, and states that if anyone said they had never been dumped they would be asked to leave. Within the first few minutes of the show Rosie is endearing and funny, and makes the audience feel relaxed.
Rosie’s show uses three characters, the ghosts of relationships past, present and future, which is a neat way to take a considered look at how we all deal with break-ups and relationships. However, the most heartfelt and effective part of the show is Rosie’s no holds barred look at the end of her own long-term relationship. The sound of an email arriving signals the start of the break-up: her girlfriend sending a message to end their relationship, stating that she’s better at communicating in writing.
As someone who has been on the receiving end of such an email I could empathise with Rosie. I particularly enjoyed her explaining how the sadness of one doing the dumping does not help in such a situation, as they are really implying that she would rather be heartbroken and upset than still in the relationship.
The show then switches from these break-up emails to Rosie sitting down and telling the story of her relationship, from the very first meeting to the moment they fell in love, including the difficulties faced along the way. This was the most arresting part of the show. Rosie completely exposes herself and it is enthralling to watch. The music used during these sequences is very effective in conjuring up those heady days of the early stages of love, and reminiscent of the Arctic Monkeys’ Only Ones Who Know.
Another ghost, or the arrival of an email, soon breaks up these tender and exquisite moments, but this is the beauty of Rosie’s performance. She is able to take you from heart-breaking memories to jokes on the state of everyone’s relationships and break ups easily. This show is like sharing cocktails with a close friend, and Rosie makes the whole audience feel at ease so that, by the end, we are all in the palm of her hand.
Author: Rosie Wilby
Director: Rosie Wilby
Producer: Rosie Wilby
Box Office: 01273 917 272
Booking Link: https://www.brightonfringe.org/box-office/shows/view/rosie-wilby-conscious-uncoupling
Booking Until: 25 May 2016