reviews and recommendations

Finding Fassbender

What better way to start your day at the Fringe than in the company of exceptional writer and performer Lydia Larson? Lydia’s previous credits include Electra (The Bunker), Brutal Cessation (Underbelly, Theatre503) and Skin A Cat (Vault Festival, which earned her a nomination for Off West End Best Actress). If you’ve ever found yourself feeling lost and alone in a big city, you’re in for an hour of astonishingly relatable storytelling in Finding Fassbender at The Pleasance.

Lydia Larson’s one-woman play begins with a speech by our protagonist, Eve. In an endearing Brummy accent, she’s giving a eulogy about her Aunty Sue. It turns out that Imran, Eve’s boss, has offered her a promotion on the same day Sue died. Eve has a partner, Rich, and a cat, Steve, who she loves dearly but she’s yearning to try something more.

Moving to work in London is ‘something you should do, isn’t it?’ Eve ponders. A flash-forward takes us to the eulogy of Eve Louise Thomas: a wife and mother who worked the phones for 40 years. Lydia wants us all to know that Eve is so much more than that and we are all able to travel where our imaginations wish to take us.

So, with ambitions beyond Wolverhampton, Eve decides to test her mettle in London. She’s never travelled further than 20 miles alone. Sick with nerves, she arrives at the fancy London office, which is a world away from the container in a car park that she’s been used to. The narrative moves quickly as Larson manages to paint a perfect picture of London living; Eve enters a grimy flat share with disappointingly disinterested strangers. All captured through true-to-life dialogue, Lydia Larson’s skills as a storyteller and mimic holds the crowd’s attention. Lydia breathes life and soul into her characters, leaping between distinct voices and mannerisms. Clear direction from Blythe Stewart, and the timely inclusion of music and sound effects, make Lydia’s task appear easy.

We’re hanging on every word as Eve is swept away by the city’s swirl before being spat out again, her hopes crushed. Just as Eve’s about to give up on her miserable London existence and return to the Midlands, she spies a letter addressed to Michael Fassbender on her doormat. Turning sleuth, Eve finds out he once lived in her flat. She becomes obsessed with returning the letter to Fassbender, researching his hobbies, tastes and any London haunts that he may still frequent. Eve’s spirit grows with the mission as she fantasises about meeting Fassbender and even becoming best pals. Silliness and near-misses abound as Eve goes on an amazing adventure trying to track down the elusive actor.

Will Michael receive his letter? Will Eve stay in London? Ultimately, it does not matter. This isn’t a story about Finding Fassbender. It’s about finding Eve and her enjoyable journey of self-discovery.

★★★★

Finding Fassbender is on at at 11:45 at Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance This, until 27th August. For tickets and more information  click here!

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