Note: This review is from the 2017 Fringe

Everyone has their own fears and phobias to overcome and this idea forms the basis of this quirky and absurd piece of theatre from Idiot Child, a Bristol based theatre company.

From the start the audience are thrust into an unusual environment, a bag of props on each seat and the three actors (Susie Riddell, Adam Fuller and Emma Keaveney-Roys) keeping a pocket book of recorded audience fears before launching into a surreal comedy of song, dance, glitter and storytelling.

The three characters: Heron (Riddell), Magpie (Fuller) and Feral Pigeon (Keaveney-Roys) were abandoned by their parents nineteen years ago and have faced subsequent fear and trauma, although they retain a glimmer of hope that their mother and father may one day return. They must face their fears along the way, led by inimitable leader, Geoff, and take the audience on the journey with them through confidence boosts, exposure therapy and the realisation that even though we all have worries and fears we can get through them.

It is a bonkers piece of writing, some moments leaving the audience unsure where to look as the performers cavort energetically round the stage, other moments poignant in their sadness. The audience are asked to participate at this “Fear Camp” more than once – drawing their own fears, blowing up balloons and even enjoying a half-time refreshment as part of the “in-flight service”.

One of the Edinburgh Fringe’s slogans is “defy the norm” and this show certainly does just that. The slapstick madness is not for everyone but it is also one of those hard to forget shows, whether it be the message underpinning it, the intensity of the performances or just the glitter dance. Shows like this get people talking and it is important that people talk about their fears to help to end the stigma of anxiety.