Status, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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By Laura Kressly

Chris Thorpe has a parasitic worm somewhere under his sternum that is as much a part of him as he is of it. It’s not something he used to really notice but since Brexit, he feels it deep within his chest. He’s now had enough of it and now would do anything to get it out of his body. 

In this angry and frustrated look at nationhood and nationality as a British person vehemently disagreeing with his country’s politics, Thorpe travels a fantastical world of coyotes and strip clubs with words, music and projections. Simple, scrolling animations of line drawings depict landscapes of cities and political borders, and the wishful dissolution of the latter. These have a meditative effect that nicely contrasts Thorpe’s wishes to separate himself from his citizenship.

His need to escape takes him to LA and its surrounding deserts, a rooftop in South London and the wealthy immigrant community of Singapore. His words are heavy with feeling and imagery, but this drives him forward rather than weighs him down. There’s a hint of Jack Kerouac, or Che Guevara in The Motorcycle Diaries, but with added despair and less selflessness. His concern for those who are victims of the British Empire also motivates him onwards.

This is an excellent ode to the complex relationship many of us have with the countries of our births. Thorpe captures it effectively, balancing anger, confusion, hurt and helplessness effectively, and by default encourages us to keep going and take control of how our nationalities influence us.

Status runs through 26 August.

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