Theatre review: How (Not) to Live in Suburbia

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Five years ago, writer and performer Annie Siddons found herself leaving London for the leafy suburbs of Twickenham.

Star rating: ***

Venue: Summerhall (Venue 26)

Distanced from her friends and raising two daughters alone, she tried to fit in, but found the toddler group excruciating and was booted out of the book group for being too keen. Still determined to excel both as a mother and a playwright, she tries to ignore her desperate loneliness, but, after one disastrous night out, realises she needs help.

This is an unashamedly autobiographical piece, but Siddons is both clever and self-aware and keeps the tone light. The show combines Siddons’ words with videos made by her collaborator, Richard DeDomenici, some surreal, some outrageous, which undercut, not always helpfully, the story she’s telling.

On one level, this is an artist making a piece of work about not being able to make work, but at its best it is very much more than that. Her poem in praise of London at the start of the show is as good a piece of writing as I’ve heard anywhere this year at the Fringe.

Until 28 August. Today 4:50pm.

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