Replay (Fringe 2017)

Sit Down Next to Me

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There’s always something a little worrying when you sit down next to a reserved seat at a theatre. As more people file in, you’re hoping that it’s been saved for a relative of someone involved in the show, or maybe for an usher – it could well be for a talented reviewer such as myself (I joke, of course, I’m talented AND devilishly good-looking). It’s only when they take the RESERVED sign away, and the lights come down, when it clocks in that you’re going to be a part of the show.

Replay follows a sharp-minded police officer preparing herself for a big promotion until a parcel comes for her containing a birthday present from her late brother. It carries a tape recorder with a cassette holding a personalised message and the song Sit Down by James. Even years after the tragedy, she is still haunted by the memory.

Replay nicely creates this haunting presence, mainly using sound that creates natural pauses within the monologue. However, I was particularly impressed with the protagonist’s engagement with theatregoers. Throughout, she makes eye contact with every audience member through her excitable manner, helping her inner-most emotions shine within a bittersweet, heart-wrenching story. It probably also helps that, during a London tube flashback, her younger self shyly took up residence on the seat next to me. Even then, she remained engaging with the rest of the audience, comfortably playing the child-like role given to her.

Replay tells a charming tale of loss, self-discovery, and acceptance. Even when it looks like it will overstep into ridiculousness (for those who have seen it, I’m referring to the final “Sit Down” game), it surprises the audience with genuine grief that did not fail to produce a few tears. While maybe not being the most flashy show at the fringe, it is beautifully executed in its confident simplicity.

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

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