Brighton Fringe: Groomed

The Sweet Werks, Middle Street, Brighton

Today and Sunday

Plenty of acts bring new shows to the Fringe each year, but this show was so successful when it came to Brighton in 2016 that it is now returning - slightly tweaked to make it a bit different. Patrick Sandford brings his moving piece, Groomed, to the Fringe, focusing on abuse he suffered as a child, back to Brighton and wants to help people get over their emotional scars. Jamie Walker spoke to him about the show.

You brought this show to Brighton Fringe in 2016, how did you find that experience?

We did the show for three weeks in 2016 and won three awards including Outstanding Theatre, and Best in Festival.

The show was entirely new then and we were genuinely astonished.

I thought I had just written a little play, not realising how affected people would be by it.

What are you looking forward to with regard to returning this year?

It will be interesting to see how people think the show has changed.

I am more confident and I think angrier and dare I say it a little bit more political.

The saxophone is louder... this can only be a good thing.

What do you like so much about the Brighton Fringe?

I just love the openness of the audiences, and the energy with which they respond to the show, during the performance and also in the post-show discussion which is nearly always as provocative.

Tell me about your show?

It is a gripping, fast-moving, never remotely sentimental look at a story of abuse.

There is live saxophone to keep things buoyant.

The audience are on the edge of their seats. It seems to grip like a thriller.

It features three stories in one; a schoolboy, a Japanese soldier, and the inventor of the saxophone.

This sounds like a very serious topic. What was the inspiration behind it?

I just wanted to tell the truth.

I reached an age where I didn’t care anymore who knew about my experiences.

In terms of a message, what do you hope people take away from the show?

What is great is how many people say they have no experience of abuse but the show still tells their stories.

We all have wounds (either real or metaphorical) which we need to get over.

The show is about how we put ourselves back together.

It is not an agony-fest.

It is about coming out fighting.

So why is this the show to see this Fringe?

I absolutely promise you will not be bored and you won’t forget it in a hurry.

It’s unlike anything else on at the Fringe and it’s actually unpretentious and not trying to be clever or arty.

It is just the truth and I think people respond to that.

It is also suitable for everybody of any age over 14.

I’ve had 18 year olds all the way up to 80 year olds who have not wanted to go home afterwards.