Yet another show I chose on a whim because it was on soon and I hadn’t seen anything at a Greenside Venue yet this year. As I always say about the Fringe, you stumble in to some of the best shows by accident. My only regret is that I saw it on its last day, otherwise I’d be recommending it to everyone I knew here.
This show had a special something I still can’t quite work out for myself. It’s a problem I have all too often with Fringe shows; the ones I find the most touching are touching in a way I can’t really explain. I’ll try though. I think much it comes from how earnest this performance is. The two actors are very upfront and forthcoming and deliver both amusingly silly and bluntly honest performances that seem to come from very real places and hit home precisely on target for having that sense of reality.
As the piece continues, that intimate and personal tone grows and comes more to the front of proceedings, Whether or not the stories they tell come from their own or other people’s real lives, I do not know. But they feel real. They feel weighted with that nuance of reality that affects us as an audience, giving us stories that could so easily happen, or have happened, to us or our loved ones. These come interposed with the slightly spacier, bordering on surreal, scenes such as the poetry reading scenes, in which Philip Lindsey displays a marvellously funny ability for using body-language and facial expressions to comedic effect. Then there scenes of pure painful realism, such as the picnic scene which was simply beautiful in how ordinary it was.
Zoë Sapienza is a devastatingly powerful actress in her ability to make extended monologue not only work but drive nails through your heart with just how much she makes it work. Her solo scenes were some of the most emotive performances I’ve seen this year, all delivered with a serene, understated subtlety. Putting her together with with Lindsey however, produces something really special. Rarely have I seen such a natural and effective partnership of two actors, but Lindsey and Sapienza seem made to perform together and bring out the best in one another.
There is, here and there, the odd vignette, or piece of it, that doesn’t work as strongly as the others. Some attempts at repetition for thematic effect don’t quite do what they’re meant to and just feel like revisiting ground we’ve already covered. These can be largely over looked however in context of the wider piece which I would sum up as ‘peculiar but important’ and able to balance the peculiar humour with dramatic impact very well. This peculiarity reaches its peak in the final stretch with audience members being climbed over, offered crisps, sprayed with whipped cream, and asked to share stories of past injuries or childhood toys. It was interactive on such a charming and sweet level that it left me with quite a smile on my face and genuine odd fondness for these two performers as people as well as actors.
I may not have put into words well enough exactly why I’ve rated this performance so high. All else I can say is that it got to me, pushed the right buttons, and left me feeling in the right mood. It was really the kind of show that one would need to see themselves to really understand why it was so good, so it makes me all the sadder that they’ve finished up with their run now. I wish these two talented performers the sincerest best luck in the future, I hope they continue to create theatre like this and continue to work together. They’d only put good into the world by doing so.