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Review: Before the Drugs Kick In at theSpace@Niddry St – Ed Fringe

Review by Tatum Stafford


Playing in an intimate room within theSpace@Niddry St venue, ‘Before the Drugs Kick In’ is quite an intriguing show that covers a lot of ground in under an hour.


Its premise is ‘A 62-year-old woman in an insane asylum closes her eyes and becomes a 28-year-old stand-up comedian. Everyone in the audience is part of her imagination.’ As a one-woman show, performed by actress Maria DeCotis, I was curious to see how elements like time travel and mental illness would be discussed in this show, and to be honest, I left feeling a little confused.


The premise also references a woman named Lynn T Walsh, who is the ‘woman’ in the story. Only, Lynn’s name is never spoken in the show. We hear about the ‘woman’s children, experiences with suicidal ideation, and passion to be a stand-up comedian, but without much of a formal introduction or name-drop at the start of the show, it at first appeared that the actress was telling us her story.


Lyn’s name is mentioned in the second half of the show description, but I do think this could be emphasised within the actual show itself to keep the audience informed and on the journey.


Maria is a very engaging performer, and she communicated the material with grace and confidence; making us all feel welcome to listen and understand the characters’ experiences. Some of the show’s most powerful moments came when she spoke about her children, and in particular her son’s 9th birthday while she was in the asylum, and how badly she wished him to visit on that day. There were also a few humorous stand-up bits, including a few jabs at Jerry Seinfeld and some funny musings about same-state weddings.


Overall, this show dealt with some confronting topics with dignity and care, and it was an interesting insight into one woman’s experiences and learnings from them.


I would just suggest that a little more context was provided to its audience at the beginning, to alleviate any confusion and help the audience feel more closely attached to the story and its characters.

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