Friday, 12 October 2012

Lucy and the Hawk - review

Written by: Woods (Thomas_E_Woods)

Where did Woods watch it? 
Ovalhouse, London 
Was Woods won over? 

Phil Ormrod’s play Lucy and the Hawk is one of those delightful gems that prove you don’t need to spend hundreds of pounds on the BBC SFX library when you have a pair of rubber gloves and microphone to hand. The play makes use of a number of household objects to create an aural masterpiece that is as delightful as it is whimsical. From the opening black out with bits of paper rustled by the cast to make the sound of trees blowing in the wind, and gravel used to mark the pitter-patter of children playing, this play grabs you by the ear and keeps you hanging on until the very end. 

It is interesting then, that for a play where how it sounds is its strongest quality there is very little dialogue. Until the very last scene, the two actors Abigail Moffatt and Tom Walton take turns narrating the inner monologue of their counterpart’s character. This is very effective, as with the addition of offstage sound effects and some very impressive physicality (in particular Walton’s portrayal of Elliott), which creates a very stylised, almost dream-like performance. It proves effective; as the inner monologues narrate the action accompanied by a hauntingly beautiful score (Nick Williams), Phil Ormrod creates a piece of theatre that has a certain poetic beauty to it, one that mesmerises from start to finish.

Everything seems to just work together: sound, lighting, action and set. Cecelia Carey’s set is very simple, blue and white all over with sloping trapeze shaped tables. These are seamlessly moved around by the actors to create all manner of places for the action, from workshops and hills, to a park, to a bed and a house. All of it works together to create something very stylistic, almost surreal, but ultimately beautiful.

There are two stories here, the one of Elliott and the one of Lucy, and in many ways it boils down to opposites. Elliott is looking for something (his concentration) and Lucy is trying to lose something (whoever is following her). Although these two characters never meet, the way the stories unfold means that one can see at the same time vast differences and similarities between the two of them. It is both touching and almost sad at the same time, and certainly a very interesting premise. However, it is not perfect, and perhaps it is down to personal preference, but the scenes with Elliott are a lot more graceful and majestic than those with Lucy, which results in them being far more enjoyable to watch.

The play bills itself as a comedy but this is true only in the dramatic sense as no one dies. There are very few actual laughs in the play, yet it hits all other targets as it comes across as warm, mysterious and in many ways romantic. This is ultimately an emotively quaint little play. It might not appeal to everyone, but it is heart-warming, with many endearing qualities.

This production runs until Saturday 27 October 2012. 

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