Nathan Cassidy is probably best-known – and has been awarded for – stand-up comedy (Best Solo Comedy Show Buxton Fringe 2014). In fact, he is performing an entirely separate stand-up show during this year’s Fringe at The Free Sisters. And this background is evident in solo theatre piece Watch This. Love Me. It’s Deep. In it, Cassidy narrates the story of his first and only true love. He met Heather at the local swimming pool when they were both fifteen and it was “love at third sight”. The audience is taken through the couple’s most tender moments and life aspirations while Cassidy simultaneously contemplates much broader themes and topics like love, death and the choices we make.
The first half of the show in particular demonstrates Cassidy’s familiarity with stand-up. He tells us side stories, wanders off on tangents and reacts to the audience. But this sense of improvisation also creates a feeling of unevenness in the piece. He hesitates at times, often repeating lines and throughout he drops tarot cards on the floor seemingly at random.
It is only towards the second half that the performance begins to come together as Cassidy delves into the meanings of the tarot cards and muses on the idea of parallel universes (with the aid of the film Sliding Doors!). Gradually, the show develops into more than the sum of its parts, revealing its intentions like the cards being dropped around the stage in what we can now see is the shape of something. Cassidy has structured this spoken word piece thoughtfully and strategically, even fooling the audience as we reach the denouement.
Watch This is an exploration of optimism, the power of our choices and unapologetic love. However, the performance was so tentative at times that it didn’t consistently feel that a communion between artist and audience was realised.