It Started With Jason Donovan – Review by Andrew Darley
Walking into Edinburgh’s New Town Theatre stage on my last night of the city’s Fringe Festival, I was cheerily greeted by the high-ponytailed Sarah Blanc: “HI JASON!”. I giggled to myself as I took my seat and politely nodded back, as she beamed with a pearly white smile with candy-coloured lipstick. It caught me off-guard; firstly because my name is not actually Jason and secondly since it was the only time I’ve ever been welcomed into a show by its star.
It Started With Jason Donovan is a dramatization of, the performer and choreographer, Sarah Blanc’s teenage love of the Australian singer and actor and how he framed her entire dating life. Blanc is upfront and unapologetic, in which she packs the show’s 50 minutes with effortless humour, off-the-cuff anecdotes, dancing and costume changes. Performed in a clever lecture-style format, the one-woman show takes us through the men she has met in her life and the romantic lessons she learnt from them. “Don’t Be Too Keen” appears twice in the rules, which makes complete sense when you hear how her initial online dating approach ended in a one-way conversation with herself.
From her re-enactments of her ‘80s self up to present day, the show is a joy to watch. Blanc’s personality is a mixture of a close friend that never takes your dating advice and the parts of ourselves that we’re embarrassed to admit. With a life-sized cardboard cut-out of the Aussie heartthrob, it’s clear that the men who came after him never stood a chance as she dances to blasts of Stock, Aitken and Waterman. There’s a real warmth at the heart of her show as she recounts her first boyfriend, break-ups, being single, getting lost in London’s dance scene and eventually moving to Australia to find Jason. The biggest lesson of Blanc’s show is that no matter how far away we move in the world, all the people who loved and left us (or ran!) are going to be coming right along with us.
Edinburgh Fringe Festival (August 20 – 27th August)
Written and Performed by Sarah Blanc