70 Stories

#12 Electrolyte

“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.”

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.


That’s great.

I say,

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.


Sounds it.

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?

Isn’t 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.

Allie Touch.

I’m talking about us!

I mean this.

It’s a pile of shit,

our relationship.

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.

Did you?


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

feels alien.

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