Short Fringe Updates: Chalk Farm

Chalk Farm had that thing where I expected it not to be completely my sort of thing. And it’s not, to be honest, but that’s because I like whimsy and puppets or stuff that is bat shit mental and that’s largely because I find real life is hard to understand and deal with. In Chalk Farm, real life is hard to understand and deal with but in the most beautiful way. It looks at the 2011 London riots quite poetically, while still being relatable. It’s the kind of poetry that isn’t beating you in the face with it’s beauty because it’s not a forced kind of poetry or the kind that rhymes when it shouldn’t. It’s the kind of poetry that just makes you feel things and think about things because it is gorgeous and charged and real because you can imagine someone you know using all the words being said.

I will own up to my ignorance about the London riots. I’m not a Londoner, and I was in Edinburgh at the Fringe when the riots happened, and the Fringe makes it easy to feel like you exist in a bubble and everything outside is a blur you’ve not really had time to focus on for a while. Which is awful but even as I write this and Fringe bustles on in the city outside, I don’t know what is going on outside of Edinburgh as much as I should. I know what I want to see and what companies are around and I know how many stars shows have been awarded, but the proper world is passing me by. So while Chalk Farm is about the London riots, it’s less about that to me and more about the mother-son relationship. The London riots are the backdrop to the anger, affection, selflessness, selfishness, love and ridiculousness that is this relationship. Both actors are absolutely fucking amazing, and the mother gives this incredible speech that’s all about being poor and never being able to be part of certain aspects of society. I think I liked it because I can imagine my mum saying all the same things.

I went in a group and we had a big debate about the ending and whether it was good. I won’t say what happened, but I liked it. I thought the almost unfinished-ness of the story was raw and heartbreaking.

(For Fringe I am just writing short bursts saying how I feel about the shows I see. So this is clumsy and messy but these are my feelings.)


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