Reviewed by Rachael Sulaiman.
It’s a warm — weirdly for Edinburgh — evening to be heading through the Pleasance courtyard smelling of chips to see Enemies Closer: the award-nominated Sara Barron’s new Fringe show discussing the intricacies of relationships and the realities of frenemies.
Sara Barron’s high energy character captured the audience as soon as she came out from behind the curtain. Whatever British awkwardness about the big, bold personality on stage was immediately dissipated by her self-deprecating humour about being American. The crowd was already on her side and was almost continuously laughing for the whole hour.
Through the rose-tinted glasses of a twenty-something, it can be difficult to imagine not loving your friends; Barron was here to make the realities of love-hate relationships very clear. It was a good insight into the cynical outlook of your thirties, with resounding relatability from an older audience. When younger members of the crowd sometimes failed to laugh, Barron, with expert crowd work, made the show funny for all ages. A couple of moments fell flat, though: a segment on race felt a little out-of-touch with today’s terminology, and a misinterpretation of the lack of enthusiasm to being British as self-hate was really just because we were in Scotland.
The speed at which we, as individuals, jump to judgements was brutally and correctly observed by Barron, making the show completely relatable. The absolute joy of revelling in others misfortune. Barron gave a pathway out for the hidden depths of taboo emotions – revenge, Schadenfreude, hate – within the audience to surface for the duration of the show. While the audience were laughing to hide their guilt, Barron feasts on it. She allows the feelings of hate nagging beneath the surface to be explored, allowing you to revel in the emotions that would usually be suppressed.
The show was unique in that Barron is not simply voicing the female point of view as a difficult struggle through the mud, but as a cathartic outlet for the more taboo emotions to be felt. I am coming away wondering whether I really am as good a hero as I considered myself…
Sara Barron: Enemies Closer runs at Pleasance Courtyard (Upstairs) at 20:30 until 25th August.