They say the British have an obsession with the weather - and at some point this Fringe, you are as likely as not to get wet. But this engaging show might well change how you feel about it when the inevitable occurs. Fourteen-year-old Vera has a gift, a synaesthesia for the water she catches; impressions, sounds and emotions fill her up as the rain beats down. And that sets the backdrop for a touching piece about life, loss, and the water cycle.
The stage opens with a nervous Vera, dwarfed by a knitted jumper, preparing to give a presentation on the results of her research project. There are facts, flip charts and even an overhead projector - but don't be fooled, for this is no teenager's coursework. Slowly we discover that this is a daughter's message to her father, if only she can get him to hear her; this is her grief, her story, and just possibly the rebirth of her hopes as well.
We get to know the endearing Vera as she tells us of the summer, with its month-long drought followed by frequent rainstorms, when she navigated a return to school and grieved for her mother. Through her study, cataloguing each drop and sensation, we see Vera struggle to document the transient things in life, holding onto memories of what has passed. The jumble of sensations she feels for each emotion are at once evocative and insightful, capturing the indescribable turmoil of her grief.
A one-woman show, Vera Shrimp employs innovative ways to deliver both sides of conversation - and the excellent use of props is well-suited to its gentle, charming humour. But portraying a shy and slightly awkward teenager is very difficult to without disengaging your audience, and towards the beginning of the piece I found it difficult to get properly on board. Later on, I was delighted with how well actor Tessa Parr brought us into Vera's world, so the issue is with the balance rather than the fundamentals.
And while there is an obvious effort with the lighting to indicate the transitions between presentation and monologue, the show was not always as smooth or clear as it could be. The fourth wall seems to be down - but I was genuinely confused about just what role we, the audience, were there to play.
Still, I will leave you with "three interesting facts" about this show: the storytelling is soaked with imagery, the premise is both novel and well-executed, and fog drip is a type of precipitation (I call it aggressive mist). After hearing Vera's tale, you just might find yourself oddly moved the next time you're caught in a rainstorm.