Edinburgh Fringe Review 2019 – Lucy Pearman, Baggage, Monkey Barrel

Edinburgh Fringe Review 2019 – Lucy Pearman, Baggage, Monkey Barrel

Two years ago Lucy Pearman won a Best Newcomer nomination for her delightful absurdist fable Maid of Cabbage.

Her new show is set in the security area of an airport – which has incredibly stringent rules about what can pass onto the airplane.

Pearman appears, crammed into a suitcase and must divest herself of various items of clothing in order to pass through the barrier. 

Having failed the test she has to remove body parts until she is barely a human.

It is certainly a show that leaves some strong visual images on the brain. Pearman squashed into a suitcase and wearing a top hat is one, losing a leg on the luggage carousel is another.   

Pearman’s nose grows longer, her terrible make up becomes a horror mask and her angry clitoris has a mind of its own.

It’s not entirely clear what her show is about – beyond being a metaphor for the frustrations and dehumanising demands of modern life.

Perhaps it was a response to the question: “What’s the worst thing that could happen when you go through airport security?”

In any case Pearman experiences every indignity imaginable as she divests herself of organs until she is reduced to being a voice off the stage – becoming merely the ghost in the machine. 

Along the way she enlists the help of various members of the audience, who find themselves manipulating her in and out of costumes, kissing her on the lips, monitoring machines, dodging water pistols and wielding umbrellas.

Pearman has a soft gentle speaking voice and a girlish manner – but she has a way of insisting people do whatever she asks which cannot easily be refused. 

Astonishingly she manages to bring this visceral interactive nightmare to a surprisingly lyrical and uplifting conclusion. The finale features ten metres of tears, a light up heart and some inspiring life advice about living your dreams.

Lucy Pearman: Baggage is at Monkey Barrel until August 25. Tickets here.

Read more Edinburgh Fringe reviews here.

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