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In PurSUEt at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

12 August 2019 | Billie Manning

Review: a tale of addiction, recovery and Sue Perkins

The short and sharp one-woman show runs at a concise 45 minutes and in that time manages to pack in a tale of obsession, addiction and the glimmerings of recovery. Our protagonist (Eleanor Higgins, who wrote and stars in the show) is a young woman in the throes of an alcohol problem that has seen her sent to a therapist’s office, black eye and all, explaining how she wound up there.
 
If In PurSUEt doesn’t sound like much of a laugh so far, wait for the ‘obsession’ part. It is revealed little by little through the narrator's tales that her unorthodox escapades have come as the result not just of an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, but also with Sue Perkins. Yes, that Sue Perkins: comedian, Bake Off host and lesbian icon. The thing is, Perkins isn’t quite aware of this relationship. The ridiculousness of the pair’s numerous sitcom-esque run-ins escalates throughout the show until the narrator is forced to confront the idea that her antics might not exactly be on the sane side.
 
It’s certainly a funny premise, and the writing remains entertaining through the darkness. On stage, Higgins tells her stories with a swaggering confidence which cracks to let vulnerability shine through - and the ending also provides a good showcase for her rather breathtaking vocal abilities. That this is a story apparently based in real life experiences only makes it all the more humorous – and poignant. The show could benefit from a little expansion – we’re left curious as to what sparked the behaviour described – but this only makes us all the more eager to see where this show will go next.
 
In PurSUEt, Lower Theatre, theSpace @ Niddry St, August 12 – 17
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