Review: Rachel Fairburn: The Wolf at the Door at Underbelly Bristo Square


4 stars

Rachel Fairburn: The Wolf at the Door, Underbelly Bristo Square, until 27 Aug, 9.30pm


Rachel Fairburn made a mistake. A small in the scheme of things, large in the scheme of things mistake. Her head was turned by another man and it cost her dearly. In truth, it almost cost her everything. If her new show poses a question it’s this: is it possible to forgive yourself when no one else will?

The hour long set charts the worst year of Fairburn’s life. In the aftermath of the mistake her relationship is over, her friends have turned against her and the paramour with whom she connected so deeply that she was willing to risk it all has hightailed it out of her life as fast as his commitment-phobic legs could carry him. One friend, her best friend, did more than turn against her; she spilled her secrets and stirred the pot, told untruths and scorched the earth. The cumulative effect this has on Fairburn is brutal; everything splintered apart. With heartbreaking humour and admirable honesty she talks us through how she picked up the pieces, one joke at a time.

On the surface this material sounds morose and, in the wrong hands, it certainly could be. Fairburn’s gift, however, is the ability to make life’s jagged moments bearable without losing edge. What she went through was horrendous. It was also hilarious, human and, ultimately, survivable. Awash with astute observation and dark gallows humour, this show is for anyone who has found themselves at the bottom and clawed their way up.

Chloe Caprani
3 stars


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