Edinburgh Fringe Review: The Fishermen, Assembly George Square - richly-drawn, gripping narrative
Edinburgh Fringe Review: Revelations, Summerhall - laughter, tears and pin-drop moments

Edinburgh Fringe Review: Blackout, Summerhall - a difficult watch at times but darkly funny

Blackout is a dark and difficult play to watch, darkly funny at times, horrifying at others

BLACKOUT by Mark Jeary(photo by Mihaela Bodlovic)
Blackout by Mark Jeary, photo by Mihaela Bodlovic

A blackout, we are told at the start, is when part of the brain shuts down in order to let the organs work and what follows is the story of six alcoholics - created from interviews with recovering alcoholics.

Their journey on the path towards alcohol abuse starts with feelings such as loneliness, escapism, being shy and drink provides the seductive magic ingredient to lift them.

'It unlocked part of my soul' says one and it's similar for the others making them gregarious and confidence - you can understand the lure.

But what follows is like falling down a dark and destructive rabbit hole, the six stories told simultaneously, with similar themes but different details.

From minor accidents to 'going off like a bomb', the blackouts, the health toll; laughter about amusing drunken mishaps, like their friends and family, drift away as the devilish effects of alcoholism release demon personalities, behaviour and paranoia.

Blackouts become heaven and hell, not knowing what you did - or what was done to you, waking up soaked in your own piss is the least of it.

The path out of this self-destructive loop is equally rocky but it's there and we hear how each finds it and how it feels to be sober.

Blackout is a dark and difficult piece, darkly funny at times, horrifying at others. In many ways, it's a play about the fragility of humans told with painful honesty but it is also about human strength and will.

Blackout is at Summerhall, 14.20 until August 26 (not 20th).

Blackout | Scottish tour 2016 trailer from Showroom on Vimeo.

 The rest of my Fringe stuff:

The Fishermen - richly-drawn, gripping narrative

Angry Alan - Powerful irony at play.

You Only Live Forever - comedy stuffed with witty one-liners and silliness.

Queens of Sheba - the most emotional I've felt at the Fringe.

Review: Su Pollard is a sharp-tongue hoarder in Harpy

Edinburgh Fringe Review: The poverty trap through the eyes of a teenager in Killymuck

Some things I've learned on my first day at the Fringe

Edinburgh Fringe Review: Ladykiller or how to use gender stereotypes to get away with murder

Edinburgh Fringe Review: The Vanishing Man and The Extinction Event - magic, clever and fun

Peaky Blinders comes to the Edinburgh Fringe in Tobacco Road (review)

A play losing its way in The Journey (Edinburgh Fringe review)