(Alice Jones's article appeared in The Independent, 5/13.)

Sea Wall, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh

A bare stage, and a man in jeans, T-shirt and baseball boots. This, it turns out, is all you need for as engaging and devastating a piece of theatre as you're likely to find at this year's Fringe.

It's only half-an-hour long, but Simon Stephens's one-man play Sea Wall packs an enormous emotional punch. First given a tiny run during the Bush Theatre's Broken Space season last year, the tale of Alex and his beautiful wife and daughter begins like any other with intimate revelations about his relationship, jokey recollections of the birth of his child and sun-dappled memories of holidays with his lightly nutty ex-military father-in-law in Carcassonne.

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