Tuesday, 22 July 2014

To The Dam, 24:7 Theatre Festival 21/7/14

This one woman play written by John Clarke sees Lisa (Jo Gerrard) on a solo visit to Todmorden beach, and in addressing the audience, give us an insight into her life and loves through snapshots of her story.

Smart and touching writing, together with an absolute gem of a performance by Gerrard combine to make this one of the must see highlights of the festival. Gerrard switches between the various moods of the memories with an incredible agility, and shows great skill in the way she judges every aspect of her performance, from the comedy of the encounter with the 'other woman' in a lift, to the heartbreaking portrayal of a mother who has lost her baby and just wants to 'smell the sun on her skin', through teenage years, meeting and losing her husband, the tensions of raising a teenage daughter, and the beginnings of finding the woman beneath the wife, mother and lover through connecting with nature and art. Sometimes its the subtlest of movements that conveys a meaning or a mood, it really was a pleasure and a privilege to see such a skilled piece of acting.

It must be quite an achievement to sustain a monologue for a full hour, but to sustain one at this level of performance, with no props or set, and have the audience completely captivated is quite an something and Gerrard, writer Clarke and everyone involved in this production should be very proud of what they have achieved.

I confidently expect we will be seeing more of this play in the future, and if Gerrard doesn't win the odd gong or two for her role I will be very surprised. Smashing stuff.

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