Pros: Two fantastically observed, tender and thought-provoking monologues.
Cons: The lighting in such a confined space was occasionally directly in the faces of the audience.
The first was Rabbitskin, which begins with Joe recounting to his father a tale in which he is disemboweling and preparing a rabbit for the pot. The intricacy of the description, with its mixture of violence and intimacy set the scene for the rest of the piece. Luke Adamson as Joe gave a great portrayal of a sensitive young man pining for his late mother and confused by an obscure pleasure gained from pain and humiliation. It was an incisive and sometimes provocative performance as Joe switched between the different characters in his life. Only once was I bought out of the story, when Joe jumped on a rather rickety table that wobbled alarmingly under his weight.
Diary of a Welshcake upped the energy levels, with Gregory Ashton as Ralph variously pacing, jumping and tumbling around the stage. His instantly likeable and slightly neurotic personality was engaging and he showed great versatility in rendering several different characters. The relaxed style of storytelling really worked and I was a tad disappointed when looking at the program later,to find that it wasn’t a true story experienced by the performer. Ralph’s Welshness was a constant theme throughout the piece, and we were all treated to a Welshcake at the beginning of the show. This provided some hilarious segues between life in Hong Kong and back in the valleys. This was a genuinely funny performance bolstered by the wonderful writing and the fun the actor was having in the storytelling.
Overall these were two great performances, well worth the ticket price and in keeping with the great work that continues to be put on at the Hope Theatre.
Authors: Dominic Grace; Gregory Ashton
Producers: Ripley Theatre in association with Black Coffee
Box Office: 0333 666 3366
Booking Link: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/event/190938
Booking until: 12 August 2017