Blurring lines between gig-theatre and cabaret, Xnthony’s Confirmation is a well-performed and worthy reflection on growing up ‘different’ – when you don’t necessarily know what makes you so.
Plagued with intrusive questions about his sexuality before he’s even started to consider the subject for himself, Confirmation blurs lines between gig-theatre and cabaret to chart a young boy’s ‘coming-of-age’ against a rural Irish backdrop. Young Xnthony may convince himself he’s in possession of magic powers, but we watch our likeable protagonist learn it’s not possible to remain invisible forever.
Presented at the Pleasance Dome, Confirmation is a worthy reflection on growing up ‘different’ – without exactly knowing, at all times, what makes you so. Painting an evocative picture of Xnthony’s hometown (the only Irish constituency voting against marriage equality), the piece’s inclusion of a child’s perspective (then compared and contrasted with the present insight of his grown-up self) is perhaps its greatest asset. ‘2019 Xnthony’ gives permission – of sorts – to his younger self to say everything he couldn’t at the time, when his biggest ‘magical power’ was to make himself invisible; a power he tried desperately to retain and recover, amongst other things, by attending church.
Aided by Odu, a truly talented songwriter, and Xnthony’s strong voice, Confirmation relays its (assumedly autobiographical) story through a mix of storytelling methods and pop numbers. The piece’s combination and structure though – of recounting and then singing, the latter often illuminated with non-naturalistic and colourful lights – don’t always manage to create a corresponding atmosphere for me. As it is often the case with Fringe, the venue and timeslot (afternoon) don’t seem entirely suitable for Confirmation‘s fluid and ‘rebellious’ form. But equally, the show doesn’t manage to conjure up a ‘world’ – with its own space and time – quite strong enough for you to forget what’s going on outside.
Nevertheless, while there’s definite room for improvement, Confirmation benefits from the impressive vocals of its performer – and the gripping story it tells.