Brighter @ The Rotunda Theatre (Brighton Fringe Festival 2023) Review

A mental health condition that has an affect on one’s mood, Bipolar Disorder, when broken down translates as ‘Bi’ = two and ‘polar’ = completely opposite  – usually misunderstood, the condition alludes to the states of mania and depression that an individual shifts between (Mind). With 1 in 100 people receiving a diagnosis and it often developing from the ages of 15yrs to 19yrs old (NHS). Delving into a man’s processing of his diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder, Beardance Theatre present Brighter, an attempt to demistify and humanise the condition.

A cavernous trove of thought, feeling and imagination, Rory Francis avidly invites us into his zany world. A world where lights dim, and what once was slowly simmers. One where Bipolar Disorder takes over, misunderstood not only by those around him but also by himself too. One where we watch Rory grasp what now is and how to navigate the world moving forward.

Brighter humorously, yet sensitively observes Bipolar Disorder and how it shows up in daily life from the perspective of a young man, which is vital for tackling stigmas around the condition. The show placing a human face on an otherwise distant diagnosis. From random quirky dance routines to offbeat stand up quips – Brighter carves out its own niche, a play that taps into ‘mood’ and ‘feeling’ well, which is what you want for a play such as this. The show is confessional and anecdotal, a safe space created to explore mental health further. With refinement, Brighter has promise, monologues with the potential to really make their mark with work. I leave wanting to have a better understanding of what Bipolar Disorder is, and that’s a great thing. The show is not afraid to be vulnerable, which is great to see!

Written by Lucy Basaba.

Brighter was shown from Wednesday 24th until Saturday 28th May 2023 at the Rotunda Theatre as part of this year’s Brighton Fringe Festival. To find out more about the production, visit here…

Written by Theatrefullstop