One Festival, Space Arts Centre – Review



Running for its fifth year, the Space’s One Festival celebrates solo performances in all their diversity. This year there are five programmes offering distanct flavours, ranging from stand-up, stotytelling and Spoken Word. Due to my scheduling availabilty, I watched programme C within each and every piece a hint of the minefield that surrounds relationships.

The first half of C programme focuses on Joni-Rae Carrack’s Do You Mind?, a frank verbal exploration into ‘being different’. While most of us could make that distinction about ourselves, Carrack cites having an anxiety disorder when she was growing up and how others have responding to this (some more successfully than others). Her self-deprecating humour easily wins the audience over and dissipates the unease at talking such a personal subject. With the aid of ‘low-fi/retro’ visual aids such as an overhead projector and ink in water, Carrack gets her point across readily and succinctly. I came away from the first of the programme with a lot of respect for her candidness and her abilities as a storyteller.

The second half of the programme has three short pieces. The first (Desirable) which is written and performed by Rabiah Hussain,  examines the strength of female friendship in one’s teens  and how the arrival of a new boyfriend affects that equilibrium. That and the predatory nature of said ‘boyfriend’…

Arguably one of the most original and funny monologues, Dawn by Rachael McGill, takes a wry look at ‘what happens next door’. Performed by Millie Binks, her character’s comments can seldom be taken at face value. Often the pieces’ humour and layers of meaning arise from the disparity between the character’s perception of things and what is self-evident. Perfect combo of astute writing and pitch-perfect delivery.

Written by Rachael Claye, directed by Isabel Dixon and performed by Damian Cooper, She Said I Do focuses on one half of a couple who complains about caring for a small houseplant. To hear Cooper’s character talk, you would think that it was the plant’s fault for not providing more obvious signs that it was in poor health. There is, of course, a symbolic link between the plant’s health and the couple’s relationship, which doesn’t look too promising at all…

Upon watching the C programme, I felt like watching all the solo performances that the festival offers and there are a fair few to choose from!

© Michael Davis 2017

The C programme and the rest of the One Festival runs until 28th January 2017. See The Space’s website for details of dates etc.

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