Hannah and George
Clowns!? I love clowns! Especially charming clowns like Hannah (Madeleine Hall) and George (Kevin Reid).
With perhaps the least wordy script at this year’s festival, the actors rely almost exclusively on their strong physicality (and a few comical costume changes) to create character and relate the story. The pair demonstrates clear chemistry on stage, and brings real stakes to their roles.
The strength of this physical performance became especially evident when Reid changes character. He had created such a distinct presence as George that briefly puppeting his un-bodied hat across the stage in his characteristic bobbing slouch-walk gave the cap a life of its own.
I also found the use of the rotating umbrella in scene-making really effective. This is an excellent use of text (and signs) on stage, because it fits well with the style of the production as a whole. The sign added to the story telling from within the world of the play, as if giving a sort of physicality to the stage itself to comment on and affect the choices of the characters.
Despite my enjoyment of the play as a whole, there are a couple of things that I feel could take this production to the next level.
The pacing, which at first felt perfect, never changed. Each scene unfolded with predictable beats that detracted a bit from the piece as a whole. It was a bit like listening to a song that doesn’t vary the rhythm of its drums from start to finish, while making great and interesting efforts to reprise and play with the melody of verse and chorus. It just started to feel a touch slow in the middle, something that could probably find remedy with a little more tightening of the script.
This play was a cute, and fun, and got me laughing as only clowns can: this is, a lot. Reid and Hall combine their strong physicality to create some really heartbreaking moments that give substance to the humour, and incredible depth to characters who only speak one word each in the whole show.