Theatre (contemporary, drama)

  • Pleasance Dome - AceDome
  • 13:30
  • Aug 28
  • 1 hour
  • Suitability: 14+ (Guideline)
  • Country: United Kingdom - England
  • Group: Patrick Sandford
  • Warnings and additional info: This play contains references to childhood trauma.
  • Accessibility:
    Audio enhancement system
    Wheelchair Accessible Toilets
    May not apply to all performances. You'll find more information about accessibile performances and how to book tickets in the accessibility tab below.
  • Babes in arms policy: Babies do not require a ticket
  • Policy applies to: Children under 2 years


How can a truth be told? How can a secret be spoken? Three true stories of survival. A schoolboy is kept back by his teacher, a Japanese soldier won't surrender and an accident-prone young Belgian invents the saxophone. Fast, powerful, gripping storytelling with live saxophone music. 'Astonishing... unmissable' **** (Guardian). 'Remarkable, brave, inquiring theatre' **** (Financial Times). 'One of the most moving pieces I have seen' (Sandi Toksvig). Winner: three Outstanding Theatre Awards, Brighton Fringe. Finalist: Best Male Performer, Off West End Awards. Written and performed by Patrick Sandford. Directed by Nancy Meckler. Composer Simon Slater.

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General venue access

  • Audio enhancement system
    Wheelchair Accessible Toilets
  • Accessible entry: Main queue at entrance to venue. Access to space via locked lift, please notify the venue ahead of your visit if you require use of the lift and ask at the box office upon arrival for access.
  • Wheelchair access type: Temporary Ramp, Lift (Building Lift)

  • Stairs: 11- 20
    Number of stairs is provided as guidance and is not in addition to any wheelchair access type (lift/ramp etc) stated above.

Each venue can contain several space with different accessibly information. Visit the venue page for full venue accessibility info

How and when to make an access booking

Our access tickets service is available to anyone who:

  • Would like to book specific accessibility services, e.g. a hearing loop, audio description headsets, captioning units, seating in relation to the location of the BSL interpreter
  • Requires extra assistance when at a venue
  • Has specific seating requirements
  • Is a wheelchair user
  • Requires a complimentary personal assistant ticket to attend a performance

Iain Stringer 29 days ago

Very moving and disturbing, well written and well performed theatre. My heart raced and broke. I cried. I don't think I was the only one either. A message gotten across well via the power of art and theatre and truthful storytelling with a powerful message for it's audience, the nation and the world!
Twitter: @IainWorks

Lesley Gwynne 40 days ago

We found this a thought provoking piece which took a holistic view to abuse attempting to see things from the eyes of the perpertrator as well as the survivor. We thought it was great that there was a suggestion that there should be a help line / information available for potential paedophiles so they can get help before they commit abuse. Highly recommended.

Sean Davis 40 days ago

Groomed (****)
Accompanied by a saxophonist who provides little breaks, a man explores pedophilic grooming initially by taking on the role of a sly primary school teacher. His manipulation of a child’s mother was a wicked reminder how insidious such people can be. The section in which he has his pedophile defends himself by placing the blame on society weakens the power of the play.

This is the 12th most enjoyable of the 122 shows I have seen so far at the Fringe this year. I hope to see almost 200.

Sarah Todd 41 days ago

Patrick Sandford epitomises survival in this gripping and extremely moving poetic monologue. The physical representations and extended metaphors running through this script are ingenious; and his delivery of them was captivating and enthralling from curtain up.

Snap Judgement 44 days ago

★★★★☆ Solid Performance

* Lived Experience. An extremely vulnerable personal tale that pulls no punches.
* Lasting Impact. Spotlighting on trauma's enduring echoes and its ramifications.
* Post-Show Catharsis. An open invitation for dialogue – perhaps the therapeutic moment someone's been waiting for.

* The Sax's Silent Solo. The significance of the saxophone was clear, but it seemed a bit underutilised.
* Genre Mismatch. Spoken word dominated; not clear if the author's intentional style or inaccurate genre listing.

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Shirley H 45 days ago

I was so impressed by this gentle, talented man and the way he presented his story. The device of the two different sized chairs to represent the small, terrified boy he once was, and his former teacher towering over him was very effective. As was the sometimes discordant sounds of the saxophone, interrupting his flow of dialogue when it might otherwise have become too anguished. To play both roles with such grace takes great strength of character and courage. I was also impressed by what he said at the Q&A afterwards. Very moving. 5*

Colleen 47 days ago

Moving and emotional, harrowing and difficult at times but very well told. Reading the blurb it was hard to see how a WW2 Japanese soldiers story fitted with his childhood trauma but it does. Very well done.

Caroline 53 days ago

Powerful, superbly acted with quiet power and grace, across the different ages and troubles of all involved in this story

Hunter Logan 55 days ago

Extraordinary, profound, gutwrenching -- perfect. I could write an essay on this, but a succinct "you have to see this" should do the trick.

James Gordon 55 days ago

Tour de force solo performance with live saxophone accompaniment and two subsidiary storylines providing necessary relief from a harrowing central tale. Honest and deeply moving attempt to describe abuse from both sides, humanising the perpetrator without at all excusing his behaviour. Excellent script which effortlessly slips into verse at telling moments and insightful use of minimal props. And an unscripted instance of consummate professionalism when a vase got knocked over and smashed: with barely a stutter, the actor adjusted the emphasis of his next line as if the mishap was planned to illustrate it. Not an easy watch but definitely my highlight of 4 shows so far.

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One4Review (5/5 stars) 37 days ago

Beautiful and moving piece of work

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The Telegraph (4/5 stars) 48 days ago

Patrick Sandford, a venerable stage director who used to run the Nuffield Southampton, reprises his brave, grimly compelling monologue (with saxophonist accompaniment) addressing the coercion and sexual abuse he endured at the hands of an English teacher as a nine-year-old school-boy in the 1960s.

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