Ross Sutherland's debut show melds stand-up, satire and sinuous verse, making the 29-year-old spoken-word artist one of the most exciting new voices to emerge on the Fringe this year. The Three Stigmata of Pacman is loosely the tale of his quarter-life crisis, a journey from music journalist in Manchester to destitute wannabe poet living with his parents in Essex.
Along the way, there's a Day Today-style critique of the media (complete with fake sensationalist headlines, "Policemen to be replaced by Twitter in 2011!"), slippery word play and coming-of-age revelation. Most impressive is the deft way that Sutherland weaves his poetry amongst the stand-up and storytelling. There's an off-licence anecdote told in multiple styles, a cleverly retooled Little Red Riding Hood set to a gorgeous animated film and an emotional homecoming epic: "When you get high enough/ Any city looks pretty". Sutherland is compelling, veering between earnest and flippant, erudite and heartfelt. A real star in the making.
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