Paul T Davies reviews Richard Gadd’s Baby Reindeer presented by Roundabout at Summerhall as part of the Edinburgh Fringe.
Richard Gadd won the Edinburgh Comedy Award for his show Monkey See Monkey Do, but since then his life has taken on a frightening and sinister turn. No stand up comedy here, he creates and tells us about his stalker, the hell she put him through, and his struggle to be taken seriously- MEN don’t get stalked right! A further layer is his openness about being raped and his relationship with a non hetronormative partner and his uncertainty over his sexual orientation. Men are talking at the Fringe, and this is a powerful piece.
Gadd does not perform alone, his stalker is represented by a bar stool, but the superb projections bring her to life with examples of the thousands of texts, emails, messages, interviews with those close to Gadd and his family. It is terrifying what happened to him, and the frenzy builds. I admired his honesty and openness, and he is an engaging performer. Throughout he stressed that she needed help, but lack of effective care support is another strong topic at this Fringe.
It took him two and a half years to get a restraining order against her in place, underlining how differently men, hide bound by traditional constructions of masculinity. That Gadd is breaking out of those traditions and talking about it is to be commended. She must not contact him in person, but he still has to avoid the emails and messages. I wish him well, and now I need to see his stand up! A powerful piece, well worth seeing.