Reviewed by Matt Forrest
Opening Night verdict ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
In the song Hey, Hey, My My (Out of the Blue) Godfather of grunge Neil Young muses the statement: “It’s better to burn out, than to fade away”. Sadly, this was a question posed in Kurt Cobain’s suicide letter, tragically titled Letter to Boddah.
Writer Sarah Nelson has used this desperately heart-breaking event as the inspiration behind her play, also titled Letter to Boddah. Set entirely in the disabled toilet of a Tesco store, we find childhood friends Billy (Sam Glen) and Neil (Jordan Reece): the pair are dressed in full military combats, armed to the teeth and carrying a ruck sack packed full of explosives ready to blow up the supermarket, its customers, and if necessary themselves. What has brought these two to this point? Is there any going back for the pair?
Nelson has written a pitch-black comedy drama which explores themes of friendship, grief, domestic abuse and lost potential. Taking a setting more associated with that of a British ‘sitcom’, we are treated to some razor-sharp one-liners and darkly comedic dialogue, mixed with moments of heartbreak, as well as a few twists that will have you on the edge of your seat.
Both leads are excellent. Sam Glen puts in an intense, gut-wrenching turn as grief-stricken Billy, whilst Jordan Reece plays Neil to perfection, striking the right balance between comedy sidekick and unhinged psychopath. The chemistry between the two is outstanding and fully believable, which makes their actions seem all the more desperate. The two manage to captivate and entirely hold your attention throughout.
This is an important production that addresses issues of male depression and suicide, as well as containing strong political themes of globalisation, and commentary on a lost generation without a voice. Powerful, dark, shocking and packed full of humour, with a finale filled with tension. This is an outstanding piece of work that deserves to be seen by as many people as possible, and on the strength of the quality on display tonight, will surely find an audience.
Letter to Boddha is on at the Edinburgh Fringe throughout August at C CUBED (Venue 50) daily at 1:15pm tickets available here.