Rosie Wilby: I Am Nesia (The Science Of Errr..)
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2008
Have you ever lost your car keys / mobile phone / house? Forgotten your partner's birthday / name? Forgotten how annoying your ex was and got back together with them? Had a friend who can remember the 15th April 1987 in precise detail? – particularly the really humiliating and embarrassing thing that you did on that day? This show is for you…
Frustrated science graduate Rosie Wilby embarks on an investigation into the human memory, fitting in some spoof Greek mythology and neuroscience and tracking down the UK memory champion on the way, but can't help being distracted by playing games and telling her life story.
I Am Nesia is a show about memory. Amnesia. Geddit? Oh, please yourselves…
The irony is that for all Rosie Wilby’s considerable sexy-geek charm, this very brief show is actually rather forgettable.
She rattles around various ideas concerning memory, from how the brain stores information to mnemonics to aid recall. A lot of this core material is essentially dry scientific stuff, but Wilby crashes through it engagingly, with lots of nervous energy, and a charming smile.
The big joke is that she keeps abandoning her main thread to talk about all the people she’s previously slept with, often using them as ‘hypothetical’ examples to illustrate her points. Only after an extended diversion does she suddenly remember ‘but this isn’t about me!’ and return to the narrative.
This saucy device is funny once, but its over-use means proceedings become samey and predictable; and if you’re over-repeating yourself in a show that only runs for about 40 minutes, rather than the advertised 50, it suggests ideas are thin on the ground.
She’s still relatively new, still trying to find her feet, and while she can certainly hold the room, the material is still patchy. There are a smattering of sharp lines here, such as her ‘locker gremlin’ prank or teasing the audience about her supposedly dead sister, but overall the writing lags her hugely engaging presence by quite some distance.
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett