FRINGE 2018: Why you need to see... Rachel Fairburn
Who: Rachel Fairburn
What: The Wolf at the Door
Rachel Fairburn swaggers onto the stage with all the cocksure confidence of a Glastonbury headliner. From the outset, it is clear that 'The Wolf At The Door' is a performer at the top of her game, banging out hit after hit with consummate ease. Each acerbic line is delivered with the piercing accuracy of a comic who's fully aware of how fucking good she is, thank you very much.
Few can match Fairburn when it comes to searing putdowns and the evisceration of all things twee and pseudo-inspirational. She's a bit like Victoria Wood, if Victoria Wood was a gobby Gallagher from Burnage. Everything from her sister to fridge magnets are in the firing line, and if the entirety of the show was Fairburn giving her caustic wit full reign, it would be well worth your time.
But it's so much more than that. As the show develops, it becomes a deeply personal and moving journey through what Fairburn describes as the worst year of her life. You begin to realise that she's not quite as bulletproof as she seems, and that beneath the veneer of impenetrability, everything is coming undone. At this point, The Wolf At The Door is elevated to another level.
There are many shows about heartbreak, but few explore the hollowness and desperation of an entire friendship system falling away to leave you feeling so incredibly alone you can't bear it. Fairburn never stops being funny throughout, but her brutally honest account of losing all hope and support - simply because she committed the sin of falling in love with the wrong man - is deeply affecting.
I won't spoil it, but there's an audio recording towards the end that is the single most gut-wrenching moment of the entire Fringe programme for sure. It breaks your heart in two, and makes you realise how very lucky you are be sat there watching Rachel Fairburn's wonderful show - in more ways than one.
You can buy tickets for The Wolf at the Door here.