Theatre review: Fix

Edinburgh Festival Fringe: It's estimated that two million people in the UK are fighting an addiction.

Underbelly, Cowgate (Venue 61)

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That’s an alarming statistic, but when you take into account the number of things we can be addicted to – from gambling to chat rooms, from alcohol to drugs – it’s not like we are low on options.

More tellingly, we’re hardwired to pursue pleasure. As Worklight Theatre explains in this snappy and engaging piece of documentary theatre directed by Katharina Reinthaller, resisting the rush of dopamine goes against our instincts.

That’s the compelling argument of the show, co-written by Joe Sellman-Leava and Michael Woodman, which punctuates each of its case studies with rapid-fire descriptions of the body’s chemical processes. The case it makes in its patchwork of song, direct address and dramatised scenes is that addiction is not a symptom of moral weakness but, in fact, an illness.

It’s a knotty subject that everyone from entry-level Facebook obsessives to those whose lives are being destroyed can relate to.

Fix treats the material with a lively blend of seriousness and theatricality, even if the cosiness of the cabaret format sits uneasily with the extremity of what’s being described.

It also leaves us uncertain where to channel our anger by underplaying its political hand, brushing too casually past an economic system that cynically exploits our own human weaknesses.

Until 27 August. 5:40pm.