It's rare for a fringe show to start with such a meek introduction as David Naylor's A Year On. He openly says how worried he was about choosing the topic for his show, how anxious he was about not having done much since his Watford Fringe Festival show the year before, and how he turned to a moment of quiet reflection to find direction. The result of which was a simple realisation: he had to tell his story.
And what an interesting story it is. Naylor meanders calmly through his tale of record deals and music touts, flitting briefly on episodes as diverse as working as a carer for a man with cerebral palsy, quitting smoking, performing at open mics, training in music therapy and suffering from brain injury. He talks about feeling lost, and about asking for help, in essence about the much lived and rarely discussed truths of the human experience. It was like watching someone unpeel themselves on stage, unwrapping the hardened outer layers of self to expose the truthful, private layers underneath.
Naylor's style is slow and meandering, rambling even, but with the show coming in at 30 minutes that's never a problem. If anything, it's a refreshingly charming and intimately personal performance style.
You feel an immediate sympathy and connection with Naylor, and although I felt compelled to stick with him to the end, it would have been enjoyable to have some music peppered through the show. There was a guitar and drum in full view for the entirety, and I felt myself willing him to pick them up and use his music to help enrich his storytelling. In the end we got one song at the show's conclusion. A magical moment which it would have been great to see more of throughout.