Fringe Review: Your Silence Will Not Protect You

Gavin-Roach-Your-Silence-Will-Not-Protect-You

By Jania Williams

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Trigger warning: themes of suicide, sex and substance abuse.

Acclaimed queer artist Gavin Roach is a writer, producer and performer. His solo show Your Silence Will Not Protect You, is the third and final installment of The Anxiety Trilogy.

Arriving at the small, obscure back street theatre on the city’s fringe I’m slightly nervous. I’m intrigued but not entirely sure what to expect. I enter the space and take my seat opposite the small stage on which an empty chair sits, waiting patiently for the show to begin. The table candles offer a welcome glow in the otherwise very dark room.

Right on time, Gavin Roach appears on stage. He has a shoulder bag brim full with empty medication packets that will at some point be emptied out onto the stage floor. He launches straight into his first fisting experience and subsequent panic attack. This becomes the anchor for the piece and Roach abruptly departs and returns to it throughout his monologue offering comic relief from the heavy and confronting content that follows. He sits and reflects on childhood challenges – navigating life as a bullied queer kid seeking acceptance and love. He shares the intimate painful moments of his youth and adolescence, the anxiety and alcohol abuse that continued into adulthood. He recounts the chaotic partying, worsening mental health, failed relationships and the desperation and despair that ultimately threatened to take his life.

The anecdotes of his partying days are delivered with such detail and energy that you feel as though you are watching the entire scene on stage. But it’s just one man. A solo artist, brave enough to be his authentic self, generous enough to be vulnerable. Roach is a gifted storyteller and performer. His clever wit and brutal honesty had me captivated from the outset. The sixty minute show seemed to end too quickly. I wanted to hear more. I was engrossed.

This piece shines a light on mental health and in particular the relationship between mental illness and substance (mis)use. Roach’s willingness to bare his soul and speak honestly about his experiences will no doubt both console and inspire others who are dealing with their own mental health issues.

4 Stars

To book tickets to this show, just go here.

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