Edinburgh Fringe Series: 'What Kind of Fool Am I?'

Edinburgh Fringe Series: 'What Kind of Fool Am I?'

Helen Wood’s one-hour monologue is a cringe-worthy attempt to turn her life story into an epic. The trouble is, her life is not really the stuff of epics. In a show where she half-heartedly mocks herself and tries to dabble in self-deprecation at her own foolish, (but not captivatingly disastrous) life choices Wood makes one feel rather uncomfortable. Is she trying to be funny, informative or confessional? Unfortunately, these were all categories with which she does not quite comply.

Wood takes her audience on a rather long journey from birth to current day. Informing us of exactly how she has stumbled through life, making mistakes from choosing to do a psychology degree (without researching it and realising it is a science based subject) to job choices (falling into teaching out of desperation), the audience spends an infuriating half an hour listening to Wood describe her inactive, lethargic attitude to life. This could be redeemed if injected with some personal anecdotes, but instead Wood takes this time to create a physical list of her less appealing personality traits (which she has printed and laminated, just in case you forget). This makes the stage look more akin to a primary school classroom especially in addition to the voodoo doll she has made for one of her primary school pupils. That is a particularly dark moment.

Not to fear though, she does find the answer to who she is eventually; after decades and decades of uncertainty, the 'Enneagram' test comes to her rescue. The test which decides exactly what category of person you are out of nine available options; a paragraph describing your main character attributes, which apparently was utterly life-changing for Wood. A Type 1 or a Type 7? Take the test, Helen encourages. You will find yourself now that you can confine yourself to a category. Just like Wood did.

There is an emotive core to the piece, however, which cannot be overlooked, and gives the piece a moving foundation. Her performance is also well-rehearsed, she occupies the stage well and is refreshingly honest about how life does not always work out as smoothly as one hopes.

I should also mention that all the seats in the audience were taken, her performance having enticed quite a crowd. So if you are stuck in a life crisis, and would like some consolation that Helen Wood has found herself after decades of being lost, then perhaps this show is for you. For everyone else, it probably is not.

**

Kate Nicholson

Original Post: http://edfringereview.com/r/V5pZXLbAQZ-lTyA2XDx6yg