Review: Shattered (Brighton Fringe, online)

Diana Varco brings her own experiences to this one-woman show, now streaming at the Brighton Fringe.

The topics of abuse and sexual assault may not be an obvious choice for comedy, but Varco delivers her story in the form of a stand-up routine across 54 minutes.

Chatty, open and brave, Shattered is as raw as you can get, yet totally relatable and very funny. It’s the journal of a survivor played out on stage without an ounce of self-pity.

Under Jessica Lynn Johnson’s direction, Varco populates the room with more than thirty characters from friends and lovers to family and therapists.

As Varco deals with her choices and experiences, she frankly discusses them all, from childhood through to walking head high into her own independence.

Production poster for Shattered

Dating, drinking, and dealing with men who constantly cross the boundary of sexual propriety – all are subjects for discussion and investigation during Shattered.

It is an exhausting performance to watch: sometimes the volume gets loud as Varco screams and shouts; at other times she is that small, naive girl again feeling that what happened is her fault.

Completely engrossing throughout, Shattered is photographed and lit very well, with clear sound throughout. There is no distracting audience noise and an interesting range of camera angles capturing the movement of the piece.

There are moments where you may need to pause and take a moment (one of the pros of digital content) but the tone is such that you are constantly on the side of the performer, willing her to find a bit of good fortune.

You can stream Shattered at the Brighton Fringe until 5 June – book your tickets here (on a Name Your Price basis starting at £5).

Shattered is part of the C Arts programme (a home for international independent arts) and can be viewed as part of ots ongoing collection.

For more on Diana Varco, go here.