When creating a Fringe show, performers are aware of the risks they must take in order to create particular emotional states in the audience: the more complex the emotions, the greater the risk a performer must fearlessly face head on.
In Living Between The Lines, Los Angeles based actor, singer and writer Michael DeLara takes such an immense risk that the pay-off is simply astounding.
But of course, as is sometimes the case with Fringe, the show begins on a janky, nerve-wracking foot, so much so that one audience member even openly offered DeLara some much needed moral support.
From there, DeLara swerves, nose-dives and lifts. The result is an incredible roller-coaster ride that will leave many stunned.
Definitive highlights are the music: through the use of guitar, vocals and loop pedals, DeLara executes a number of songs that are sincere, uplifting and emotionally astute.
These songs act as a much-needed balm, soothing the savage beast that is the audience, particularly since some of the anecdotes do test the nerve of those present.
What makes this work so brilliant is that it’s an incredibly polarising piece of theatre: some people will love it, others will hate it.
There will be those whose empathy is brought so much to the fore that they’ll simply want to hug DeLara, who verges so close to an emotional breakdown that yeah, it is a little uncomfortable to watch.
And even more people will be left thinking “WTF” throughout the entire piece and long after they leave the venue.
This work ultimately holds a mirror up to the audience and makes them question their overall reactions to what they are witnessing.
Living Between The Lines is audaciously challenging, almost recklessly so. But DeLara is a deft hand at taking risks, resulting in a nuanced work, one that straddles cabaret, confessional and theatre with brilliant (un)ease.