Monday, March 23, 2015

River - Fringe Review

Bakehouse Theatre’s Studio, Mon Feb 23
River is a loner, but she has crafted a busy enough life for herself.  She frequents a quiet caféteria where she can be alone unnoticed. She has become something of a Google expert, specialising in writing “googlet’ poems based on what Google’s auto-complete function provides when you search for things. She sells self-made aluminium shapes at a weekend market. Her job doesn’t require her to talk to anyone, but she gets some joy from the human contact shared with her colleagues over packets of Arnotts cream biscuits. She relates the minutiae of her daily life in a way that is both touching and tedious.
Her luck begins to turn when she makes the acquaintance of Harry, an aged widower who frequents the same caféteria and is looking for company.
Claire Lovering, the writer and performer of this one person show, has obviously spent a lot of time observing the old and lonely. There is a pathos in the details that her character shares with us, as we slowly learn that her whole life is based on masking the fact that she is alone. And Lovering does an excellent job of portraying this not quite sad and quirky character who is self-conscious, unsure, and excited by little things like chip sandwiches. Her friendship with Harry is short lived but he is the link in a chain that ultimately provides her with a new life where her warmth and care for others can be put to good use.
There’s a simplicity and a charm to this production that grows on you. It’s a poignant reminder that there are many who find it difficult to fit in. They want to be with people but they just don’t know how to do it. Happily in this case a lucky break helps a loner find their niche.
Left unsaid is the fact that many who are alone are not so lucky….
Quite moving in the end. It may well bring a tear of joy and/or sadness.

(also published on The Clothesline)

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