Writers: Hannah Moss &David Ralfe
Reviewer: Linford Butler
“I’m not going to speak,” writes Hannah Moss on a whiteboard, silently, before rubbing it out and writing two words: “It’s easier”. On The Run’s So It Goes is a very personal, extremely brave show which attempts to come to terms with the long-term process of dealing with and responding to the death of a loved one. Told through the whiteboards – a simple effect, executed with precision – and through humour, physicality and sometimes dance, Hannah Moss’ memoir to her father and his legacy is a restrained and focussed piece of theatre which deals with an upsetting, personal story of grief with impressive poise and elegance.
Moss’ performance is quiet and still, played with an excellent sense of dramatic timing and an endearing sense of personality. Joining Moss to tell the story is David Ralfe, playing both Hannah’s mother and father in the story, alongside the odd incidental character. Again, his performance is strong, providing instead some of the more comic material, but with an impressive ability also to engage the audience in the sadder moments. Together, they make a compelling two-hander, and they tell the story with respect for the topic but also with a sense of energy and optimism which stops the piece becoming too downhearted.
The storytelling mechanisms are excellent. With no speech throughout, the whiteboards are used impressively. The lighting is understated and subtle, functional rather than beautiful. The sound design is interesting, featuring Shania Twain and Phil Collins, but is again rightly secondary to the telling of the story. Transitions are slick and rehearsed.
Now and again, the show can lapse into a pace which some may find a little too slow and some physical control is also needed, neither concern is enough to take away from what is otherwise an extremely brave story of vulnerability played with grace and creativity.
So It Goes is an impressive achievement, and is only made more striking through the fact that it is a statement of the personal. It is well performed and well executed, with moments that are extremely haunting. On The Run can be extremely proud of a piece well made, and which really hits home the intensely personal but universal experience of loss and mourning in a way which can make dry eyes shimmer.
Runs until 24th August (excl. 12th)