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Review | ‘Broken Romantics: A Unicorn’s Quest for Love’ at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Find out what our reviewer Paul Bloomfield thought about the new play

By Steve Brown

Everyone has suffered heartbreak and Emma Dean is absolutely no different.

This is one of the first things we discover in Broken Romantics: A Unicorn’s Quest for Love at Greenside at the Edinburgh Festival.

The room is dark, with shadowed figures playing instruments and a giant, surrealist, lit-up heart in pieces taking centre stage before Emma presents herself in all her rainbow glory.

The show, which has travelled all the way from Brisbane, Australia, is not quite anything you’ve seen before – it’s a bit of everything mixed magically.

A visual, performed concept album – part gig, part physical theatre with lots of cabaret thrown in there for good measure.

Be prepared to laugh out loud in one moment, before clinging to your chest with a single tear falling down your cheek in the next.

Emma’s elastic vocal-trickery is a joy to behold as she effortlessly slides through her range in a pitch-perfect masterpiece of song.  

A rollercoaster of the heart with a banging, catchy sound track performed by Emma, who leads the show with charm and grace alongside band mates, Katie Swan on backing vocals, Tony Dean on percussion and Richard Grantham adding whimsical string accompaniment on the viola.

A special mention should go to Jamie Kendall and his contemporary dance with such pain in his face and majestic movement it breaks your heart and warms your soul in an instant.

It doesn’t hurt that he’s easy on the eye and tends to wear not-very-much most of the time. He also plays a major part in the first piece of audience participation I’ve witnessed, where I was actually hoping to get picked for. Alas, no luck!

It’s a shame unfortunately that the venue does not live up to the show.

Jamie’s performance feels like he’s being stunted by the lack of space and sometimes his floor work can be lost unless you’re in the front row.

A slightly raised platform and few more square feet would have kept the intimacy while giving the show the room needed to truly breathe. This would be a five star show in a better space, with better sound and lighting.

That being said, this is no reason to not get yourself down to the venue and book your ticket.

If you love love, if you love glitter and rainbows, if you love fantastic music and hot boys dancing in their pants, then this is definitely the show for you.

A musical journey that you won’t want to miss where you will learn that, you know what? You, are a f**king unicorn too!

A Unicorn’s Quest for Love is showing until August 25 (excl. Sun, Mon) at Greenside @ Infirmary Street. Buy your tickets here.

Watch Emma’s original song ‘Healed of You’ below:

Rating: 4*

Words by Paul Bloomfield