Fringe Review: B.L.I.P.S.

B.L.I.P.S. Image

By Megan Doherty

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After battling with trying to find a car park for nearly half an hour (honestly, who schedules sports ball during the Fringe?)  and being ready throw in the towel and head home, I managed to get to Holden Street Theatres just in time for this performance of B.L.I.P.S. – and I am so glad that I stayed.

B.L.I.P.S. offers an incredibly engaging journey into the personal experiences of the performer, Margot Mansfield, with Brief Limited Intermittent Psychotic Symptoms. A non-linear narrative, exploring Mansfield’s experiences during periods of psychosis, the piece intersperses acrobatics and other circus performance with voice over and projections, immersing the audience in the performer’s world.

Mansfield’s physical skill and artistry is incredibly effective in portraying the many facets of psychosis – the tension of trauma, the frenzy of periods of mania, the numbness and frustration of insomnia – and her ability to move from one state to the next with the control that the performance state demands is exceptional.

There is room for improvement in Mansfield’s vocal development, particularly in spoken sections where clarity is occasionally compromised by high pitch. Conversely, the performer’s natural voice shines through during a cappella singing moments. I would love to see the richness of her lower vocal range extend to the spoken parts of the show.

B.L.I.P.S. achieves its aim of providing “a wild ride of real-life circus psychosis, acrobatic madness, hula hoop hope, and radical resilience” with authenticity. It sheds light on Brief Limited Intermittent Psychotic Symptoms, offering insight into the experience without seeking to explain or find a cause. Juxtaposing stage action with home video footage of the artist as a child with voice overs provided by her family members describing what it was like to witness an episode and not know how to help, was particularly affecting, contrasting the innocence of childhood with the distress of psychosis.

Humor is skillfully woven throughout, effectively highlighting the extremes of psychosis while making informative segments entertaining. By centreing her own experience, the performer showcases resilience amidst mental health challenges, demonstrating that individuals can thrive beyond their struggles.

The show’s authenticity is reinforced by the literal voices of others who have experienced the condition, reminding audiences of the broader impact. While some segments delivered script-in-hand may benefit from clarification, these are forgivable in a debut solo show. Overall, “B.L.I.P.S.” is a moving and insightful exploration of mental health that leaves a lasting impression.

4.5 Stars

To book tickets to this show, go here.

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