Monday, September 5, 2011

Review: Confessions of a Mormon Boy

A few days ago, I was excited to learn that one of the Fringe shows I had hoped to catch on my ill-fated weekend in Edinburgh was opening in London, so I had a new chance to catch it. I booked tickets on the spot.

Confessions of a Mormon Boy is less of a show and more of a life story. The story of one man's journey from "Brother Fales" in Salt Lake City to charges-by-the-hour "Jason" in Manhattan via a mission in Portugal, two children and excommunication. All of it utterly engrossing.

There's something incredibly raw about Fales' performance that can only come from the unique heart of a trained actor not just playing himself on stage, but exposing his own most personal feelings and insecurities. The ultimate method acting, I suppose. You can see in his eyes that every word is true, every pause inserted not just for effect, but because he's genuinely reliving the moment in front of you.

It's this courageous honesty that has the audience eating from his hand for ninety minutes. The scenes where he describes his physical pain at being forced away from his children are so much more than poignant, they're gut-wrenching.

On a personal level I suppose I was always going to feel an affinity with Steven Fales. I couldn't shake the feeling that I was watching myself in a not-so-distant parallel universe. Perhaps I was.

If you are in London this month, see this show.

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