Binge Fringe Magazine

REVIEW: A Year and a Day, Prague Fringe 2024 ★★★★★

Meet Nathan, he was born in Ireland in 1933 but he doesn’t look a day over 25. In the aftermath of a robbery gone wrong he is inexplicably cursed to move forward a day and a year into the future each time he falls asleep, or the clock strikes midnight.

In this one-man show, watch as his life quickly falls off the rails and his friends, family and wife Elsie cope with his sudden and extreme disappearances in the aftermath of the robbery. His best friend Sam grows bitter, and his parents grow cold as they refuse to believe the magical explanation while Elsie promises to be a good and true wife to him.

How much is too much to ask for in a relationship, though? Nathan tries to leave Elsie but she insists that he cannot be alone for the rest of his life, but in attempting to console him she effectively condemns herself to sixty years of devotion. It is an incredible sacrifice, though one realises that it might not be difficult to merely pretend to be faithful, after all, it’s only 60 days and it seems Elsie may have realised this as well. Details are dropped in the show, hinting that she may not be completely honest with Nathan. He can only see her life in glimpses and it’s a classic case of an unreliable narrator. He wonders if they are bound by fate, if their love story was simply meant to be but as the years pry them apart, one wonders if this too was part of the curse.

It all begins with a stolen penny in 1958, when Elsie helps Nathan and his childhood friend Sam steal a rare coin from a man with unsavoury connections. He is struck by the curse that very night, still carrying the penny in his pocket skipping through a year unaware that his wife and best friend will have to deal with the consequences of his actions for the rest of their lives while their relationships twist and he is powerless to fix it. His friendship with Sam is fractured almost immediately, as without the penny, Sam is forced to join a gang to repay his debt. Elsie vows to remain by his side, but the years are not easy on their marriage.

Christopher Sainton-Clark is spell-binding on stage, and manages to keep distinct voices in an accent that is not his native one, an impressive feat in itself. The pace never falters and when watching the fight scenes, one almost forgets that there is only one person on the stage. Museum of Alchemists is also a perfect venue for this story, the transitions from day into night with the stars glowing on the theatre ceiling pairs perfectly with the storytelling verse as Nathan tells his story with the cadence of a children’s bedtime story, completely in rhyme.

The play’s exploration of fate, the burden of promises, and the consequences of one’s actions resonates deeply. As Nathan and Elsie’s love story is tested by time and circumstance, the audience is left to ponder the true nature of fidelity and the weight of sacrifices made in the name of love. The interplay between the fantastical elements of Nathan’s curse and the stark reality faced by his loved ones creates a poignant reflection on the fragility of human connections.

A Year and a Day is a theatrical triumph, blending captivating storytelling, powerful performances, and evocative themes into a cohesive and unforgettable experience. It challenges us to question the limits of love and the complexities of the human heart, leaving a lasting impression that lingers long after the final curtain falls.

Spell-binding, bittersweet and thought-provoking. What first seems fantastical becomes a very real portrait of the loneliness and disconnection that can infect any relationship, with or without a magical time curse.

Recommended Drink: A tequila sunrise over the heath as another year slips through your fingers.

Catch A Year and a Day as part of Prague Fringe until June 1st. Tickets are available through the Prague Fringe Box Office.

Moss Meunier

Moss is a bit of a globetrotter and struggles to stay in one country for long. They first fell in love with fringe theatre in Prague in 2014 and first performed at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2018 as an improv comedian. They’re interested in a broad range of genres but are particularly excited by themes of neurodiversity and immigration. Their favourite drink is a foamy pint of Pilsner Urquell - it was their first beer and tastes of teenage freedom.

Festivals: EdFringe (2023), Prague Fringe (2024)
Pronouns: They/Them