FRINGE 2015: Stop Start – Bakehouse Theatre: Main Stage – 5K

At its heart, Stop Start is an intricately crafted portrait of two brothers, estranged for a long time, with a shared past, but with very different recollections of the details. It is also an interesting exploration of addiction and craving, their history, and the different ways they can manifest themselves. The show has a self-aware dreamlike quality, with one protagonist who is probably high and the other who is having flashbacks while undergoing the process of being embalmed. It is a pleasing hallucinatory journey.

There are fewer characters than in Dawson Nichols’ previous works but the same complete and mesmerising embodiment is present in his performance. The distinct physicality of each persona is clear, yet subtle; not signposted or trite, just there, natural. Where previous works saw Nichols jump sharply from character to character, precisely delineating them, the transitions in Stop Start are fluid and gradual, as one character blends into the other and then back the other way. Subtle lighting helps to accentuate these personality slips. Barely moving from his chair, it is Nichols’ extraordinary presence and immersion in the narrative that fills the space and draws you in.

While still requiring the audience to concentrate in order to understand the flow of the story, the structure of the show is well conceived and neatly interweaves the different segments into a cohesive whole. The epilogue character is a nice resolution and brings the desired climax without being corny.  Nichols again shows us how truly good, Fringe theatre can be.

Kryztoff Rating: 5K

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