Reviews - Fringe 2015

Fringe 2015 Review: Bloom

By Mark Richardson
Published July 24, 2015

After enjoying much light hearted fare at Fringe Festival Hamilton, sometimes you're ready to take on a serious play like Bloom - and "take it on" is an apt description of experiencing the event.

Bloom explores a variety mental illnesses through the actual words used by those suffering with the afflictions. As such, you have the feeling you've come to know people you've just met at a very intimate level, very quickly.

The words spoken are captured at the very moments when people in therapy come to realizations and revelations about themselves, and when their defences are down enough to allow them to offer personal explanations of living with and managing their particular form of mental illness.

The actors handle the form of Verbatim Theatre so thoroughly you can be convinced that the play is experimental group therapy instead of a performance. Each actor explains the specific labels and challenges the character lives with, and every one of them is unique.

The conversational nature of the captured dialogue gives the performers a unique platform to reach out and engage the audience, which is accomplished with great heart and honesty.

Basic staging supports the several storylines well. Clever costuming melded with expressive dance, peppered in to illustrate internal conflicts during the monologues, is like the buttercream on a perfect cake.

The cast of outstanding Gen-Z actors tell a story that crosses generational labels, as could heard by the many sniffles and gasps of those in the audience who were possibly reliving their own stories. If you are ready and open for it, Bloom can be that great a theatre experience.

Mark Richardson has lived in Hamilton since 1993. He is a Stationary Engineer and is one of Hamilton's many Industrial Nomads. He currently is employed at US Steel.


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