Lockdown review: txtshow (Greater Manchester Fringe)

A show where the performer as puppet takes his script from the audience sounds intriguing, so when Brian Feldman’s production of txtshow turned up as the only livestream option in the Greater Manchester Fringe, I had to sign up.

Audience members are instructed to remame themselves “Anonymous”, to keep camera and microphone on, and to send lines privately to a “script” account via chat.

Playing “txt”, with only a chair, a desk and a mug as props and setting, Feldman reacts to and repeats – not always 100% accurately – what appears on his screen.

This is a show that, if you don’t like it, “it’s your fault”! I liked the idea behind it and the developing text was appropriately silly: in “our” show focusing on Trump, mice, Cher, foodstuffs and pants.

However, I suspect txtshow works best with lots of involvement, and sadly in the performance I joined, there were only three audience members. This meant both the generation of script and performance of it were harder work than they might have been with a bigger group.

To Feldman’s credit, he kept the interest going and although I’ve read that in previous shows “txt” has tended to shout, he seemed to dial it down a bit here. The show ran over by ten minutes, mostly in a routine around the mug (how to move it, what is in it), making it a diverting and de-stressing 55 minutes.

txtshow is touring fringe festivals worldwide at the moment – to book in to the next GM Fringe one on 15 October or a future performance into late November (free but donations welcome) click here.

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