Once I Lived In The Box is a dire warning. It's a tired and nearly, nearly defeated voice crying out in the middle of a windy, terrifying night. It is by turns haunting, sensual, humorous, distant and visceral. Like the Otis Redding version of A Change Is Gonna Come that scores a marvelous solo, it's a show that never once apologizes for the pain of being alive.
It is a shared experience in that way - it's us who are being warned: STOP! We hold on to our faked generosity, our small ownerships, our secret hate for dear life as if we ourselves are not part of a continuum-as if we do not all break the same way.
The show begins with the razor edge feeling of a situation that can't possibly end well. Then quickly we are in the hustle and bustle of a life where life is that which gets swept away-hidden.
The show moves for the most part with the undeniable pulse of heartbreak. We are perhaps doomed and our inner turmoil is a result of the lack of faith we put in one another, of a true generosity of spirit. That's the price we all gotta pay. Isn't it a pity?
Mc Nicolls and his gifted, dedicated performers unselfishly make the political personal so that at the turn of a phrase or a fade in the music (the evening is accompanied by some of the most exquisite music of the 20th century) we have gone from the world at large to the most intimate trials and tribulations of a love affair.
It may be a warning, but it is not a hopeless warning. There is always joy available. We're gonna end up in a box anyhow-why live in one too?
It may be a warning. It may also be the best thing you see at the Fringe this year.
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