Review: Tonight With Donny Stixx

TONIGHT WITH DONNY STIXX
TONIGHT WITH DONNY STIXX
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WELL, actually, it’s an afternoon. And that little variation is not a bad marker for how far this memorable solo show will take you away from what you might have expected.

* * * * *

Pleasance Courtyard

In a totally bare set, we start with magician Donny Stixx (Sean Michael Verey) doing a typical celebrity Q&A with the audience, schmoozing with punters, answering with reminiscences which immediately start to raise their own questions.

As the layers unfold, we are quickly made to realise that this is not, in fact, the story of a celebrity gone bad, but of a terribly damaged boy, harmed both by early disability, variable parenting and latterly by the cruel vagaries of social media and the unrealistic expectations generated by the construct that is our celebrity culture.

It’s a little too long to sustain the intensity all the way through, but Phillip Ridley’s story is richly layered - part telegraphed but with additional elements revealing themselves throughout. Something like this stand or falls on the lead, and this very much stands: Verey is intense and mesmerising, occasionally voicing other characters and other, darker, internal voices but essentially delivering a relentless 75-minute dramatic monologue without skipping a beat.

Until August 30