City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland


By Lorraine McCann - Posted on 08 August 2008

Show details
Assembly Rooms
Theatre Tours International incorporating Guy Masterton Productions
Running time: 
Roger Egan (director), Lynn Manning (writer), Gary Bergman (original music)
Lynn Manning

This is the second visit to Edinburgh for Lynn Manning’s engrossing one-man show, which tells the story of his life from his disrupted Los Angeles childhood through to his being blinded in a bar-room shooting and his subsequent emergence as an independent poet, playwright and actor.

Last year, the show was based down at Theatre Workshop, but this year it will hopefully reach an even wider public at the Assembly Rooms.
Manning cuts a striking figure from the off. A tall, muscular former world Blind Judo champion, he is dressed incongruously in an outfit that seems to belong more to a Florida beachwalk than the mean streets of LA.

His attitude, however, quickly brushes any confusion aside as he begins to lay out in stylish, absorbing detail the events of the day that changed his life for ever, a day (as he says) that was "tipped way too far into the positive not to go tumbling headlong into the negative." His story then winds back from the shooting to talk about his family. His mother had nine children by the time she was twenty-nine years of age. The kids had several different fathers, and the one that Manning talks of most, Bill, was sexually abusing at least two of Manning’s younger siblings.

It’s obviously a sad and harrowing state in which to live, but Manning tells it with not a trace of self-pity; on the contrary, his fluid, quasi-rap style glows with the lustre of his resilient optimism. This trait also brings him into conflict, post-shooting, with a trauma counsellor who simply won’t believe that he has accepted his blindness within days rather than taking the three or four months that her textbooks say he should.

Lynn Manning is clearly a naturally gifted storyteller with a vivid and distinctive style. I found his description of how becoming blind transformed his world and allowed him to "see" what he’d been missing through "the distraction" of sight fascinating. I’m sure you will too.

Times: Aug 2-25 (no show Aug 11) at 12:45