Review by Charlotte Leamon
English Mark Glentworth brings his one-man show to Edinburgh Fringe, discussing themes of mental illness through song. With a simple set covered in white sheets, he begins the show by discussing and singing about his time in a mental illness hospital. He reveals the set which consists of a running roller, chair with a table, and telephone.
Throughout the show he receives phone calls from his parents and son asking how he is after being released from the hospital. His father mentions the days of his successful career as a musician and the audience sees glimpses of Glentworth’s past life as the show progresses. Whilst Glentworth is too afraid to answer these calls, he responds to himself and reveals how his current mental state would not allow him to go outside. He lived in his house for seven and a half years which involved not going outside, not exercising and not seeing daylight.
However, he one day summons the courage to go further than the corner store for his daily sandwich, and rather go to the fish and chip shop. This event occurs as his ex-wife stopped leaving him money, meaning he had to use his card to get money out of the bank. In this moment, he realises what he was missing out on and how he needs to try get a kick-start to getting his life back on track. He opens up his laptop to contact his son, but finds it all too much as he has missed out on almost a decade of his life. Once he finally makes the call, he reunites with his son and begins regaining his life back for himself.
Amongst these tribulations, the last sheet is folded off and reveals a keyboard. This allows for musical numbers with backing tracks and live piano. Glentworth has a lovely, rustic voice and his lyrics are deep and meaningful. However, he could vary genre from ballads in order to build more excitement from the audience. As heavy topics are discussed, we see the raw emotions and descent of Glentworth’s life. Although we do not know how he ended up where he was, the audience discovers what he dealt with and how he dreamt of being a child again.
A story discussing important and relevant themes, and is clearly very important for Glentworth to share. I recommend seeing ‘Seven and a Half Years’ if you enjoy ballads and musical theatre.