Fringe Focus: Belly flops on the fringe

Written for The Stage

Last week, I witnessed a terrible piece of theatre that was truly painful to watch. Opaque, pretentious, poorly directed and shakily performed; it was interminable. But as I escaped I couldn’t help but feel that, even apart from the other captives in the audience, I had not been alone in my discomfort – perhaps those most suffering were the actors themselves.

Is a belly flop more painful for the swimmer or the viewer who sees it happen? For anyone who’s ever performed such a watery failure the answer is surely that the doer feels the discomfort most acutely. For all the viewer’s propensity to cover their eyes and emit sympathetic groans, enacting a disaster is more painful than watching one happen. Read more.


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