Karen Cogan shines as Brenda, a gay 30-something woman in 1998 Ireland who is desperately seeking love and affection in a world that shuns her. Mentions of her sister’s reaction to finding out she’s gay are brief and infrequent, but the effect they have on her and the hurt she feels as a result are abundantly clear.
Brenda is obsessed with Olivia, her ex-girlfriend, and goes to crazy and sometimes terrifying lengths to get close to her. There is humour, but it’s dark, and reflective of her life stagnating, but also crumbling around her at the same time. You love her best friend, even though you don't ever really meet her, and your heart breaks for the hopelessness of the lives they are both stuck in.
The story is told through a slightly confusing combination of narration and performance, with Cogan jumping between talking directly to the audience about past events and acting them out, which blurs the timeline somewhat. The breaking of the fourth wall draws the audience more to Brenda, but the narration - while done well - reverses that effect, making the events explained that way feel more distant and less emotional.
A metronome sounds occasionally in the background, enhancing the dull, repetitive nature of Brenda’s life whilst also somehow adding a creepy, disturbing element to the play. Lighting and sound are used well to build up to the climax of the play, and the simple set sees Cogan moving restlessly between sofa, table and chair, showing how trapped Brenda feels.
It’s conflicting to feel sympathy for Brenda but also horror towards her actions regarding Olivia, and it’s an intriguing and emotive piece of theatre performed wonderfully by Cogan.
Drip Feed is on at 14:30 at Assembly George Square Theatre until August 26th, excluding the 14th. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the EdFringe website.