Electrolyte, the winner of last year’s Mental Health Fringe Award is a powerful piece of gig theatre about a young woman, Jessie, who abandons her best friends, Donna, Paul and Ralph, to follow a singer-songwriter called Allie Touch down to London. Will she find the happiness she’s looking for, or is she venturing down a dark path? Here we present an exclusive extract from the show, which has returned to the Edinburgh Fringe this month for a second run.
After the night gets six drinks and four shots good
we find ourselves outside,
trying to decide
between cocaine or food.
Coke wins of course on an occasion like this
and before we know it
we're back at Ralph's, still pissed
with a bag of tinnies and a packet of powder.
And we descend into reminiscing for hours.
From stupid tricks, to funny bits, to little ticks
we take a trip down memory lane,
and once again I can feel that pain rising.
I look at Donna and Paul. My rocks.
My mountains that will never fall.
My soldiers that will always stand tall
before Paul announces something
that surprises us all.
Donna and I are getting married.
We are. He popped the question last week. Took him long enough.
Well I wanted to do it properly.
and I can hear how unconvincing I sound
But everyone’s so coked up
No one notices anything other
than what they’re on about.
I took her to school, you know, 'cause that's where we met and I got Mr. Simmons to let us use
the maths classroom where I used to sit behind her and poke her with my pencil and kick the
back of her chair.
It were really thoughtful.
Why aren't I happy?
I should feel over the moon,
I should be bouncing round the room,
I should be overjoyed that in a few months
they will be bride and groom.
I'd got all of the different things I used to throw at her from WH Smiths. Rubbers, pencils, a
compass, rulers, chewed up bits of paper and I blue-tacked them to the interactive whiteboard
so that they spelt 'Will You Marry Me?'. And then I had a bucket of spare ones so she had to
blue-tack her answer on underneath so it were like an interactive experience.
That's so lovely. Congratulations guys.
Paul's proposal sounds shit.
Like so shit, it makes me sick
that Donna even said yes to it.
But that's not the bit that I care about.
I can't shake this feeling that
everything's slipping away
and now all I can do is grasp
hopelessly at thin air.
I actually don't care! You know.
The joy in the room turns to tense focus.
The shock hangs for a moment.
Paul looks like he's been hit
by a million ton lorry
before Donna says:
I don't care. I say again.
And I take a look at my friends.
A long hard look,
from top to bottom.
And I think out loud.
We don't have anything in common.
And this habit is rotten
and no I haven't forgotten
that we grew up together but that's it?
I mean apart from that there's nowt?
Jess what're you on about? You’re talking shit!
I’m being pensive.
You’re being really offensive.
Well I’m sorry Paul but I meant it!
And that song begins to play again
In the back ground of my mind.
I'm talking about us!
I mean this.
It's a pile of shit,
You two are getting married,
Ralph you're just fucking off
and no one gave a toss
how I was feeling when
my Dad topped himself.
That's not true?
Isn't it though?
It were three weeks ago
and yet it feels like for you
it were a lifetime away
and I'm not trying to say
that you guys should
put your lives on hold
but don't rub it in my face.
Fuck! I'm sick of this place.
Where you either fuck off or shack up
with the first bloke you've found,
regardless of how shit his proposal is,
and no one around
has any ambition to get off of the ground
And I'm just so fucking over it.
I'm sick of it.
This repetitive negative fuckery just for the hell of it
aimlessly wandering blind to the world out there just ‘cause you’re scared of it
I’m hopelessly dreaming for something with meaning and you don’t want shares in it
Sitting wasting my life like I don’t really care for it
I’m feeling done with this place I grew up look I think I need air from it
Irrelevant people are holding me back
This small world,
these small minds,
with small dreams
that are not mine.
I need more than what you want.
I need more than this.
And I look at the room we're in
and the people that I suddenly
don't recognise anymore.
The carpet on the floor
that I've trod a thousand times before
I can feel I'm going pale again.
Jessie, sit down. You look sick.
I know Donna's speaking
but I can barely hear shit.
I turn and walk out the door, quick.
No one shouts after me
and I think, fuck. That's it.
Electrolyte is showing at Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh from 14-26 August at 5.20pm as part of the Fringe programme. If you have not had chance to see ths incredible show yet, you can book tickets here.