Outside In is a 50-minute one-woman show by Ilaria Passeri. It is presented at Gullivers, Manchester for the Greater Manchester Fringe 2023.

Ilaria is a storyteller. Outside In is a selection of stories for adults chronicling times in Passeri’s life where she has felt as if she’s looking outside in, from her time as a Brownie to ill-fated holidays in Dubai to her first open mic nights. Some bizarre things have happened to her – she was briefly kidnapped by her own father and once had to buy Imodium for Father Christmas when working as a Christmas elf in a shopping centre – but the stories still remain relatable and fiercely funny. 

Passeri presents her stories using a breadth of costumes, from her Brownie uniform to her Elf costume to Frida Kahlo print dungarees. It serves to break up each segment into easily defined scenes and show the different identities she’s ‘tried on’ throughout her life in desperate search of her ‘people’. Passeri’s adulthood is spent flitting between her two very different social groups, her girly girlfriends and her arty creative friends, which is certainly something that I can relate to. 

The most compelling part of Outside In was Passeri’s absolute ease on stage. When a performer is this relaxed, this comfortable with their material it’s such a joy to watch. Her performance made me completely at ease, her comfort on stage radiating out into her sold-out audience. The audience was almost treated as other characters in the stories, we were spoken to, bantered with, and told to google things when we went home, all in a way that deliciously blurred the line between performer and audience. 

Outside In is a well-crafted and well-performed selection of autobiographical stories, seamlessly woven together by Ilairia Passeri’s masterful storytelling. The Greater Manchester Fringe has been heavily populated by one-woman shows this year, but Outside In has knocked it out of the park. Go, if only for the elf costume and free brownie badge.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

{🎟 AD – PR invite – Tickets were gifted in exchange for an honest review}

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