Huge red letters spell FEAR and man with a crocodile mask sits on a chair. The fringe has truly begun. This one man show opens with Gareth Clark who writes and performs the piece, sliding across the floor wearing a reptile head periodically looking towards the audience. After a few more crocodile based high jinks the base of the piece starts.
Fear is unsurprisingly about fear. What scares us, and why we are scared of it. Being scared of not being clean in case we get in an accident and the doctors refuse to treat a dirty boy. Being scared of being a sissy. The thrill of being scary. Gareth talks directly to the audience about what he was scared about as a child. Ranging from the funny to tragic, he tells stories about what it was like growing up in another generation. As the crowd at Zoo was generally quite young, it started to feel like a kooky uncle telling tales of his childhood. After finishing his childhood memories he goes into what he is scared of now. From Aids to Zika, to terrorism, to feeling selfish for not having children. Unfortunately these stories didn’t feel particularly unique. At times, (Fear) felt more like a nice man reading out the comments section in The Guardian.
Gareth Clark is a wonderfully affable man. He is warm, likeable and engaging. He performs with gusto and his joy of performing is infectious. He works with the crowd wonderfully and is someone who is able to have an intimate conversation with whoever is watching him. There is the added element of occasional dancing, which doesn’t feel choreographed and is can at times feel without context. Much of the production seems as if it is more fun for the performer than for the audience. Gareth Clark is an obviously talented performer, but (Fear) lacks a clear through line, journey, or conclusion. It seems 1 or 2 drafts from being finished. (Fear) has lots of potential, but so far seems as if it is a work in progress.