Feeling Afraid As If Something Terrible Is Going to Happen is a one-man show written by award-winning writer Marcelo Dos Santos, starring Olivier and two-time Tony nominated actor Samuel Barnett, under the direction of award-winning director Matthew Xia.
With such a stellar creative team on board, to name only a few, it is hard to feel afraid for something terrible to happen, other than falling in love with a piece of theatre that we wish could have lasted longer or that we could rewatch on repeat.
Feeling Afraid is a short play, only about one hour and fifteen minutes long, packed with humour, honesty, great comedy, profound and moving writing. Samuel Barnett plays a witty and disillusioned thirty six years old comedian, immersed in a world of disappointing hookups with men and pursuing a career in stand-up comedy, which seems to serve as both his occupation and his main coping mechanism against self-hate and existential dread. Everything changes when he meets Michael, a confident American man who seems to "see" him for everything he is and still be able to love and want him as his one and only boyfriend. He appears to be the perfect partner for the comedian, except he isn't able to laugh due to a neurological condition which could put his health and life at risk if he were to engage in the act of laughter.
The greatest strength of the play is how the writing is able to bring to life a completely three-dimensional, highly funny, flawed yet likeable and profoundly human character. Right from the beginning, hidden behind all the self-deprecating and witty jokes, we get a sense of the pungent loneliness the comedian finds himself trapped in. Thanks to the fast-paced, incredibly smart writing of Marcelo Dos Santos and the humorous, bold and energetic acting of Samuel Barnett, completely mastering the role between voices and accents transformations, impeccable comedic timing, and sudden switches from perfectly pitched jokes to chilling honesty and vulnerability, we embark on a moving journey within this character's soul, experiencing all the complexities, contradictions, fears, hopes, miseries and wonders that make up any human being on their pursuit of happiness and human connection.
The success of the play is highly aided by the great lighting design of Elliot Griggs, matching the sharp energy of the comedian, together with the captivating sound design of Max Pappenheim, the simple yet perfectly evoking stand-up set and costume design by Kat Heath, and the overall masterful, energetic direction of director Matthew Xia.
Feeling Afraid As If Something Terrible Is Going To Happen runs at the Bush Theatre until December 23rd.
Review: A.G. Photo: The Other Richard