Pros: The art installations give Lowri’s stories a beautiful backdrop.
Cons: More substance would have made this performance more memorable.
A roller-coaster of love, spanning Britain and Brazil. Hair that is so bored it leaves the head. A glittering cocktail dress flitting amongst props. The memory you will miss most. The trip to TK Maxx intended to shape an identity.
Instead of celebrating her 30th birthday with a big party, artist and performer Lowri Evans decided to create a show – something to make a mark in the world. The result is a one-woman show, a scrapbook of stories from childhood and adulthood that is now, a year later, running in London at the Ovalhouse. It’s a performance that is part installation, part spoken word, dipping in and out of Lowri’s memories. As the audience shuffles in, Lowri greets us with a big welcoming smile and requests our names, and it becomes clear that this will be no ordinary show, but something much more personal.
The snippets and insights into Lowri’s life are funny, heartfelt and beautifully presented. There is a jumble of stuff on the stage; screens and overhead projectors, glowing snow globes, pink rabbit ears, a diary – and each piece is part of a larger storytelling ritual. Amélie-like Lowri flits among the props, telling us of the time she escaped her humdrum existence in Manchester for a romantic getaway to South America, a non-emergency reverse call to her confused father and her work with elderly people suffering from dementia.
Lots of it worked really well, and it was quirky, fun and interesting, due mostly to Lowri’s charming and loveable character. However, I did leave the performance missing something more substantial. Lowri’s stories, despite their being told in a beautifully poetic style and wrapped up in a clever and lovely setting, were a bit too jumbled up. The piece could benefit from exploring one overarching topic in more depth and detail. The potential is definitely there – I would have liked to hear more about Lowri’s work with dementia and ideas about memories and their loss, for example. However, as it is, the stories just skimmed the surface and left me with a sense of having missed something crucial.
That said, there were some wonderful, sincere memories and laugh-out loud moments, and Lowri demonstrated that she is brilliantly capable of delivering both. I also really liked the visuals; the art installation is clever and well incorporated and acts both as a lovely and intriguing backdrop for the action, as well as an essential component of the narration. The lighting subtly picks out highlights in the action and frames the performance beautifully.
Lowri will be performing her show until Saturday 15th February, and will be giving a love-letter writing workshop on Valentine’s Day. It’s bound to be fun, and you could do a lot worse than buy a loved one a ticket to an evening at the Ovalhouse!
Author: Lowri Evans
Producer: Lisa Mattocks
Booking Until: 15th February 2014
Box Office: 020 7582 7680
Booking Link: http://www.ovalhouse.com/whatson/booktickets/SecretLife