As we went into the wonderful venue that is the Lab at Queen’s Theatre, hospital-style hair nets were handed out. This method of blurring the lines between performance and real life pays off in spades due to the strength of the show itself.
Being capable of eliciting anxiety, joy, and a whole gamut of emotions is a remarkable skill and one that Josh Belperio masters to great effect in Scarred for Life. A tour de force of musical talent, the performance balances both the intrinsic skill Belperio exhibits but also plays to his strengths to charm the audience. Quite a charismatic performer, Belperio is aided by excellent production to tell a story that weaves between emotional weight and lighter humorous turns. The shifting of tone could easily have been mismanaged but no emotional turn feels abrupt.
The production is perfectly geared to maximise the strength of Belperio’s story. Watching this performance is a powerful experience and is ultimately an uplifting one that will surely see the audience leave on an emotional high.
Charting trauma, anxiety, and recovery, it’s impossible to avoid the seriousness of the situations but Scarred for Life is able to measure the humour to perfection. The blend that results from this artistic measuring of themes is a special one. The story is a worthy one, the themes universal (even if not the actual experiences, hopefully) and the production pitched to perfection bring out the pre-existing strengths of the show. Undeniably, this is an engaging and charming performance mounted to perfectly play on the substantial strengths of Josh Belperio as a performer and Scarred for Life as a performance.
Seeing Scarred for Life in the same day as Mental as Everything only added to the experience as both shows complimented each other with their shared themes and ethos. I’m sorry to say that both shows are now ended but hopefully they will not keep us waiting and the wonderful and unique performance staged at the Lab at Queen’s Theatre will return before long and not starve the audiences of such great marvels.
Words by Liam McNally