The Worst of Scottee is a confessional and it’s set out as such: Scottee sits inside a photobooth, profile to the audience and we observe as he tells his story to this modern confession booth. Although his body is in profile we see his face via a video monitor on the side of the machine and he does turn to interact with the audience as he sings. He’s a talented singer and the staging is simple but effective. When he does finally leave the photobooth towards the end of the show to stand in front of the audience there is almost a sense of gratitude: the video is compelling and clever but the story is so human and raw that you want to see him in person.
Scottee is a captivating and brave performer. Throughout the show he gradually strips himself down, both literally and figuratively, to reveal memories of events that still shame him and bring him guilt. It is moving and heartbreaking. It’s also funny. The comedy is brilliant, off-beat and exaggerated and it works well but as the performance progresses it dissipates and the show becomes something else – raw, painful and touching. It feels a little bit like betrayal – it’s weighted too much towards the beginning and we could have used some humour at the end; not to detract from the depth of emotion and the humanity of the story, but to highlight it.
That might be a tall order though, especially when the story is such a personal one. It is humbling to watch someone open themselves up and Scottee does it so well. This is a show that you should definitely see and do try and catch it whilst it’s at the Roundhouse. This theatre has a special place in Scottee’s heart: it’s in the area he grew up and the events in the show take place very locally, giving the performance added heart and impact. An intimate show that will make you consider what it means to be human.
The Worst of Scottee is showing at the Roundhouse in London until 15 February. For more information visit www.roundhouse.org.uk.
1. The Worst of Scottee (2014). Image by Darrell Berry.