Edinburgh Festival Fringe theatre review: I Gave Him An Orchid, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Sally Stott.
This is a show about heartbreak, Sarah Calver tells us – something that, she admits, “sounds a bit epic”, but assures us it isn’t. And she’s right: through an imaginative mix of physical theatre, poetry and narration she gives us funny little snapshots of real-life relationships and tells the true story of Sarah Henley who, in 1885, threw herself off a bridge but, apparently due to her parachute-like skirt, survived.
It’s an imaginative and cathartic piece in which the likeable Calver makes herself a particularly brave smoothie, headbangs her way through her own heartache and playfully turns a member of the audience into her partner, as he stares awkwardly at his laughing real-life partner in the front row.
A series of small insights, rather than something bigger, it’s a piece that could do with more structure, but Henley’s story and her unlikely metamorphosis into a Victorian celebrity, living to the age of 85, is an inspiring one.
This and the descriptions Calver amusingly gives of being dumped, feeling pain and getting better again prove that, however painful the end of a relationship feels, it is possible to get through it.
Summerhall (Venue 26) until 29 August / listings
Published in The Scotsman on 19 August 2015
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