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Credit: Luke Adamson / Gregory Ashton
Credit: Luke Adamson / Gregory Ashton

Odd Man Out, The Hope Theatre – Review

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.

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. Odd Man Out is a double bill of shows on the theme of....the odd man out and we were certainly presented with characters out of place and awkward in the world. Other than this there was little similarity between the two pieces, other than the characters' love of literature. That's not a criticism; I enjoyed the juxtaposition and resonances produced by having them performed next to each other. The first was Rabbitskin, which begins with Joe recounting…

Summary

Rating

Excellent

Two pieces of theatre dealing with loss and ill-fated love.

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Odd Man Out is a double bill of shows on the theme of….the odd man out and we were certainly presented with characters out of place and awkward in the world. Other than this there was little similarity between the two pieces, other than the characters’ love of literature. That’s not a criticism; I enjoyed the juxtaposition and resonances produced by having them performed next to each other.

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

About Martin Pettitt

Martin Pettitt
Martin is an editor of books on psychoanalysis as well as a writer and poet. Theatre has always been ‘that thing that was always there that he is unable to avoid’ and so he loves it as he does any other member of his family. He has variously been described as ‘the man with all the t’s’, ‘the voice of the indifference’ and ‘Jesus’, but overall he is just some guy. He wakes up, does some stuff then returns to slumber, ad infinitum. A container of voices. He hates mushrooms.