Theatre review: Edgar and Me

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Edinburgh Festival Fringe: For the past six years Charlotte Blackburn has been writing to Edgar, a man on death row in the US.

Zoo Southside (Venue 82)

***

In her one-woman show she tells us about their unlikely friendship, critiques the inhumanity of the death penalty, and paints an affectionate portrait of a man who creates atmospheric artwork and writes eloquent letters and poems. His crimes are only touched upon at the start, but Charlotte – a likeable, chatty young woman from Sheffield – points out that these were ten years ago and he has since grown to regret what he did.

Indeed, the work Edgar creates from jail, as well as his commitment to fitness and charity are a testament to the positive effects of both art and self-improvement. As photographs of him are passed around the audience, we get small but fascinating insights into his everyday life.

The chance to ask Edgar questions, via Charlotte, opens up an innovative interactive element that could be developed further. When Charlotte writes Edgar a letter within the show, about how the show’s going, it also enables a simple connection between us and him that elevates what could be a very sad situation into something more humane and hopeful.