The Argus: Brighton Festival ThumbA tale of doubt, anxiety, failure and redemption, Edward Rapley’s personal journey of finding one’s place in the world was a thoughtful yet difficult work.

Publically laying bare his psyche for all to see, Rapley approached the concept of living life without fear through a variety of mediums including physical theatre, dance and comic observation, often cutting a piteous character as he struggled with emotional burden.

Regressing to a childlike state at numerous points — prompted by wistful memories of a long forgotten birthday party or hiding beneath a step-ladder to eschew its virtues as a make-shift den — the entire piece was laced with the nostalgia that comes with personal reflection.

A spiel entitled a Guide to Happiness… And How To Avoid It soon ended up with the wince-inducing wrestling of an inflated balloon, and although the fifty minute show was packed with subdued spectacle like this, many didn’t quite deliver the profound realisations the audience desired.

The obvious anguish plastered across Rapley’s face as he reeled off a number of apologies to those he’s wronged in his life either spoke volumes about his powerful acting or really did herald a genuine cathartic release. One couldn’t but wonder if Rapley’s psychiatrist was seated in the audience, silently egging him on.

Achingly personal to a fault, it left the audience as emotionally wrung out and confused as Rapley himself – which might have been his intention all along.