Victoria Fringe Festival 2017 – Wrists
Review by Tony Carter – Showbill.ca Staff Writer
August 25, 2017
Wrists is one woman’s intense exploration of her history with self-harm, a story that is made all the more striking in the way its components contrast each other.
Co-creator and sole performer Karin Atkinson tells a story that is simultaneously intimate and relatable to anyone whose life has been affected by self-harm. Atkinson regresses back to several different ages, with each one serving as a different character that is given its own unique voice and perspective in piecing together the events that eventually led her to begin cutting. It is the classic story of how one bad day (and no real support network) can drastically change a life.
It does feel as if this particular story might still be a bit too close to Atkinson. Some aspects feel frustratingly rushed, like when she mentions that her early suicide attempts were “embarrassingly pathetic” without further elaboration. Other parts can be too wordy to the point that it bogs down the pacing of a scene whose drama is more than able to speak for itself. There is a point later in the show where Atkinson says that she thought she could talk about this, but that she doesn’t really understand it herself, and it does feel like there is truth to that.
But for every scene that feels like it might not quite be ready yet, there is another that wonderfully captures the range of human emotion that Atkinson brings to the stage. The comedy of teenage melodrama contrasts starkly with raw and genuine emotional trauma, and some of her lines are so precisely chosen that they will leave a lasting mark on the audience.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Wrists is not a show for the faint of heart. Karin Atkinson does not hold anything back in exploring her trauma. For anyone who feels they can handle it— or who have experienced it themselves— this is a show well worth seeing.