Adelaide Fringe Review: Bleach is a darkly humorous one man play – Mercure Grosvenor Hotel (05.03.20)

From the moment he swaggers into the room, you can tell Tyler Everett (played by Tom Crotty) is going to own the audience. Making eye contact, he begins his story of sex, violence and city living. Dressed in a black leather jacket, white t-shirt and designer stubble, with a backpack slung over his shoulder he looks every bit the London hustler.

The simple setting and subtle music backdrop evoke a feeling of a private club, or the claustrophobic atmosphere of a crowded bar. The backpack is a metaphor for a safety blanket – containing the tools of trade it represents a time of youthful happiness.

But the central story consists of an evening that didn’t go to plan and the aftermath of that event. The bleach that tries to wash away the stains.

“My card says I’ll do anything. But not this. I don’t want this.”

The show’s sub-plots explore the issues of wanting to belong, and the harsh realities of rejection. The lover who loves him as much as he does. The small town that should be missing him a lot more than it does. The absent father. How it feels good not to feel.

Crotty is a powerful performer. He takes the script by Dan Ireland-Reeves and makes it his own. The audience is not watching a story being told, it is watching a story being lived. Every nuance is crafted to perfection. The lighting and sound bring alive the four walls in the confining space of the Mercure Hotel. It’s as if we’ve booked a surreptitious night with him.

A powerful performance of a powerful play that will haunt you long after you’ve seen it. Bleach is certainly not an easy show to watch, but well worth the effort.

FOUR AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

The reviewer attended the show on March 5th. Adelaide Fringe runs until March 15th. To see more shows, head HERE

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