REVIEW | Torch | Edinburgh Fringe

“I need to figure out who the f*ck I am without him,” the young woman smothered in glitter says whilst perched inside a toilet cubicle in a nightclub.

Walking into the performance space, you are hit with the damp stench of a club, creating a truly immersive performance. Jessica Mabel Jones invites you into the toilet cubicle with her and shares some of her deepest emotions and regrets through a hard-hitting series of stories about her relationships with men, but most of all the relationship she has with herself.

Described as part gig, part refracted and reflected stories, the audience are entirely divulged into her world as a confused 30-year-old woman. What makes the performance so powerful is Jessica’s ability to completely own the stage with her commanding presence. In between her stories of heartbreak and thought-provoking questioning, she grabs the microphone and bursts into song. Each song is a fierce performance by artists such as Sia, Taylor Swift and Katy Perry, Jessica’s powerhouse vocals are charged with intensity.

She openly reminisces on her teenage self, clinging onto the memories of being so spontaneous and free. There are poignant moments in the show such as when she talks about her struggle with eating and body image, however the most difficult to swallow are the struggles she describes with her ex boyfriend.

“I was fine before I met you,” she tells herself in a touching monologue in which she describes that she feels she has lost herself. Phoebe Eclair-Powell’s script is moving and the language is poetic. Jessica’s fragmented emotion conveys the potency of the script as her personality is constantly switching from high to low.

Torch is a gripping and provocative performance with scenes that left me shocked and speechless. Jessica’s performance is direct and raw, confronting what it is really like to be a woman.

****4 stars

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Tickets can be found here.