EdFringe 2022 Review: Wild Onion

The aroma of red onions, spring onions, brown onions, leeks and shallots is likely to linger with you after Wild Onion from Orange Skies Theatre. This show housed at Assembly’s Bijou on George Street sees the young theatre company blend narrative with acrobatics and surrealist spectacle for a curious blend with more silliness than substance.

Adam cannot cry and battles with the grief of his best friend, Rachel is struggling to cope with her fear of men, and Daisy learns complex dynamics within her family history. The three friends support each other in these journeys, with a lot of onion smashing, throwing and biting added in for good measure.

The onion is expectedly a recurring motif here appearing in each of the character’s separate arcs in various forms. A symbol for the forcing of tears for Adam or an emblem of the anger faced by Rachel regarding her fears and insecurities with men. The three performers fuse these various stories together in quite an impressive manner, allowing each of the cast their moment in the spotlight.

Rachel performs an aggressive onion smashing routine as the vegetables and their remnants are crushed and thrust around the venue whilst an angry punk-rock number blasts. It’s unusual and not particularly affecting. Adam’s depiction of his grief comes in the form of a routine utilising the Cyr wheel and a variety of backflips, which provides some impeccably performed acrobatic spectacle. Daisy’s bit requires a certain degree of audience interaction explored through three scripted call centre conversations with a willing audience member – this is followed to a lip-sync to Dusty Springfield’s You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me. Wild Onion utilises an impressive up-tempo soundtrack for most of its runtime which helps heighten the energy of certain moments.

The overarching theme here is that the onion is a symbol of friendship with the cast sharing that it serves as an impressive companion vegetable – growing next to near any other crop. The cast do convey this sense of solidarity and friendship in quiet moments both on or to the side of the stage, however, Wild Onion feels hampered by its desperation to promote a sense of quirkiness or the weird to the point where it is a challenge to take in the show’s attempts at sincerity.

For details on Wild Onion, check here.

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