Announcing Feeling Afraid As if Something Terrible is Going to Happen at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Tony and Olivier nominated actor Samuel Barnett makes his fringe debut in this darkly humorous, bitingly honest play examining vulnerability, intimacy, ego and truth

“I’m 36, I’m a comedian, and I’m about to kill my boyfriend…”

A permanently single, professionally neurotic stand-up finally meets Mr Right and then does everything wrong. But is Mr Right quite what he seems? And how far will the comedian go to get a laugh? Feeling Afraid… is a sharp new comedy drama from the Olivier Award-winning producers of Fleabag and Baby Reindeer and Fringe First winning producers of Baby Reindeer, Square Go and Angry Alan.

Starring Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, History Boys and Twelfth Night actor Samuel Barnett, this stripped back one-man play, presented in the form of a stand-up gig, is directed by Actors Touring Company Artistic Director Matthew Xia.

Director Matthew Xia, said: “I’ve been a fan of Marcelo and his writing for a while, so when he shared this new play with me and explained it was written with the incredible actor Samuel Barnett in mind I leapt at the chance to be involved. There is so much that appeals to me in this piece – a deeply flawed, but loveable, protagonist trying to work through his issues in front of an audience, the conflicting themes of desire and self-sabotage, and formally it’s an incredibly clever play sitting at the confluence of stand-up, storytelling and theatre.”

Actor Samuel Barnett said: “Having worked with Marcelo Dos Santos before it was the easiest yes when he approached me about collaborating on this brilliant new play. I’m thrilled to be working with such a fantastic team in Marcelo, Matthew Xia and Francesca Moody Productions to bring this funny and dark yet hugely relatable story to Edinburgh. This will be my first time as a performer at the Festival Fringe and there is no greater or scarier challenge than a one-person show, so I’m excited and terrified in equal measure. I’m especially thrilled to be doing the Festival Fringe after what has been such a terrible couple of years for everyone during the pandemic. Theatre is all about connection and community and nowhere does that better and on such a scale than the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.”

Writer Marcelo Dos Santos, said: “I am ridiculously pleased that Feeling Afraid As If Something Terrible Is Going To Happen is going to the Edinburgh Fringe and with such a brilliant team. It came from quite a simple place; I wanted to write for Samuel who I had admired as an actor for a number of years and I wanted to write something about the contemporary gay dating experience in all its messy, silly, painful glory. The form hopefully gives expression to Sam’s brilliant range as a performer as well as unpacking ideas which repeatedly came up in conversation between us; particularly around self-sabotage and shame.”

Samuel Barnett is a two-time Tony nominee, for the Broadway productions of The History Boys and Twelfth Night, respectively. Samuel played the title role in Dirk Gently’s Detective Agency for BBC America. He most recently starred in Straight Line Crazy opposite Ralph Fiennes at the Bridge Theatre, written by David Hare and directed by Nicholas Hytner.

His other theatre credits include Allelujah! for the Bridge Theatre, Kiss of the Spiderwoman and Dealer’s Choice for the Menier Chocolate Factory, An Oak Tree, The Beaux Stratagem and Women Beware Women for the National Theatre, Richard III and Twelfth Night for The Globe Theatre and Broadway, The Way of the World for Sheffield Theatres, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and The Accrington Pals for Chichester Festival Theatre and The Marriage of Figaro for Manchester Royal Exchange.

His television credits include Four Lives, The Amazing Mr Blunden, The Prince, Penny Dreadful, Endeavour, Not Safe For Work, Twenty Twelve, Beautiful People, Desperate Romantics and John Adams.

His film credits include The Lady in the Van, The History Boys, Jupiter Ascending, Bright Star and Mrs Henderson Presents.

Roundabout @ Summerhall, Summerhall Place, Edinburgh, EH9 1PL
3 – 28 August (not 4, 9, 16, 23) | 19:00 (20:00)
Aug 10-11,15,17-18, 22, 24-25 | £15 (£13)
Aug 7-8,12-14,19-21,26-28 | £17 (£15)
Previews: 3,5 and 6 August, | £9
Box office: 0131 560 1581 |