Fringe Review: Brute - Underbelly Cowgate ✭✭✭✭

Review by Graeme Shield

 Like a one-woman Mean Girls with extra bite, Brute is an uncomprising look at the hilarity & horror of life as it chronicles key moments of in the life of 14-year old girl Poppy, written & performed by Izzy Tennyson.

Winner of the 2015 IdeasTap Underbelly Award, the show casts it’s eye over the sometimes tricky relationships girls can form with each other and the daft logic of teenagers. Tennyson’s sharp script cleverly tells of Poppy’s friendship with her peers and finds time to add dry observations about hysteria, bullying and the way in which mental health (especially amongst teenagers) can be casually swept aside.

Tennyson’s tour de force portrayal of Poppy skilfully strides the fine line between character and caricature, filled with the natural charisma of a 14 year old spilling her daily thoughts to a diary. Her ability to make people recoil with both laughter and shock is deftly put to good use in illustrating the cruelty capable within Poppy, without demanding that the audience judge her.

The same must be said, too, for Browning’s direction which gives us only a table, a harsh fluorescent light reminiscent and a handful of pre-recorded voiceovers. This sparseness allows Poppy to completely fill the space with her darkly humorous tales of teenage life and childhood tragedies.

Scratch the surface and there is plenty in this show to get your teeth into. Well worth your time!

Brute by Izzy Tennyson is on at 4.10pm (1 hr) in the Underbelly Cowgate (Iron Belly) until 31st August.