Reviews/Fringe World Festival/Theatre

Extraordinary Foxtrot spins cathartic tale

1 February 2018

Fringe World review: Above the Mealy-Mouthed Sea, Unholy Mess
Blue Room Theatre, 30 January
Review by Xan Ashbury

Occasionally, you see a show that leaves you booking a return visit before you’ve left the theatre. Above the Mealy-Mouthed Sea is one such show.

It’s one hour of compelling non-liner, multi-layered storytelling, spun by a dancing poet, who sings and is handy with a loop pedal.

In short, Jemima Foxtrot is extraordinary.

Her story starts on a bank holiday in a pub with her mum and sister. They are looking through a shoebox of old photographs. Someone has been cut out of the picture…

While the play explores the legacy of childhood sexual abuse, it is elliptical. The abuse is not revealed, but rather anxiety and the weird workings of memory. This is created through a unique narrative structure and incredible soundscape.

With dazzling versatility, Foxtrot plays everything from her 10-year-old self to a pompous Latin master.

When the threads of the three stories come together at the end of the show, including the punchline of a joke that had been frustratingly beyond reach, it is a moment of true catharsis.

Above the Mealy-Mouthed Sea (co-written by Foxtrot, co-written and directed by Lucy Allan) is moving, often hilarious and thoroughly recommended.

Above the Mealy-Mouthed Sea plays The Blue Room Theatre until 3 February.

Read Xan Ashbury’s interview with Jemima Foxtrot here.

Pictured top is Jemima Foxtrot, extraordinary in Above the Mealy-Mouthed Sea.

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Author —
Xan Ashbury

Xan Ashbury is a teacher who spent a decade writing for newspapers and magazines in Australia and the UK. She won the Shorelines Writing for Performance Prize in 2014-17. Her favourite piece of playground equipment is the flying fox.

Past Articles

  • A tsunami of subversion

    You might want to brace yourself for Patrick Marlborough’s radical gloves-off stand-up in On Fringe, but it’s well worth the effort, advises Xan Ashbury.

  • Extraordinary tales about ordinary people

    Created by local performance company Whiskey & Boots, The Bystander Project is a celebration of stories, art and shared humanity, says Xan Ashbury.

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