This new decade has been the uplift of all things digital and Edinburgh Fringe Festival is no different. Edinburgh Fringe Online has meant that more people can experience the marvel that is smaller fringe theatre no matter where they live.
Tadhg Hickey’s In One Eye, Out The Other, in association with Smock Alley Theatre, is a heartfelt and emotional look into the effects of growing up around alcoholic parents and the lifelong trauma that that can be placed on a child as young as five. Mix in the varied Catholic calendar and you have you for an extremely bumpy childhood filled with missed expectations and could have beens.
HIckey’s one man show is part theatre, part stand-up comedy and delves into the effects that alcoholism has on those you love, as well as strangers who will judge from afar. The 1 hour production follows Feargal who leads the audience on a surreal journey into the circular journey of growing up around the influences of drinking and ultimately becoming an alcoholic. He is a subdued yet somehow comical man who grew up replicating the patterns of his parents. Hickey quickly switches between the two to have you laughing out loud and then feeling moved and somber the next.
The show starts with Feargal reminiscing about a childhood living with parents with split polarising personalities, the loving parent who would do anything for their child and the alcohol influenced unpredictable parent who often needs to be looked after. He then explains how this experience affects adult life and his ability to love and be loved, as well as to form lasting friendships.
Drawing on his own experiences, the second half of the show leads with a parable about why speaking to someone and offloading the hurt and pain you’ve been carrying around can be a very cathartic experience. “The feeling of warmth. I thought this must be happiness, this must be peace” will stick with me. The inclusion of showing the saving power of a passion is also brilliant, seeing Feargal relaxed and free when singing and moving.
The ending packs a real punch and will resonate with the audience, some of whom will be part of the three million who have grown up with guardians with alcohol problems. The vision of him and his mother being sober and being able to truly see the real people underneath the alcoholism is emotional.
In One Eye, Out the Other will stick with me and really makes you think! As someone who is 5 years sober, I am left pondering “was I drinking the drink, or was the drink drinking me.”
In One Eye, Out The Other is playing Edinburgh Fringe Online until 30 August 2021. For more information and tickets, see Edinburgh Fringe’s website.