If you are wondering what a ‘musical monologue’ is – look no further. Hollow is a charming 20-minute musical journey written by David Kent. We follow a traveller returning home to search for what he has been missing, though it is not the story, but the music which makes Hollow special.
The entire piece is performed by Dereck Walker from an armchair. Walker is a captivating storyteller and the journey has real appeal to it. The actor may be sitting down the entire time, but he manages to embody the space as well. This is possible to do, given the lack of any special effects or props (apart from one cloak). Walker is clearly very moved by the words he is bringing to life.
Even if the show is a little confusing (at times it is unclear whether the songs are focusing on reality or supernatural), this simply adds to the magical mystery of the melodies. The overall effect made me feel very calm and this is definitely one to reach for when stressing about whether live theatre will ever return.
“The overall effect made me feel very calm and this is definitely one to reach for when stressing about whether live theatre will ever return.”
As a piece of entertainment, Hollow can’t be quite described as complete in and of itself. It is great in the audio department, but it lacks movement. The visual aspects are not enough to carry the story. To put it bluntly; we can watch someone sitting in a chair singing only for so long. The restrictions of lockdown are important to bear in mind, but there is nothing visually engaging or exciting in the shot at all.
Having said that, if we take the audio as a separate entity, the music is varied and catchy and the violin is, for want of a better word, beautiful. The audio is nicely balanced and the pace of the music carries the arc of the story forward.
The end credits of Hollow say it is ‘homemade’ and that’s it – rough around the edges and not perfect in the middle, but considering the limited production resources, it really is an enjoyable 20 minutes. Hollow has the potential to be made into a live production when and if global circumstances allow, and I applaud such creativity through the drought of the pandemic. My advice – listen to Hollow now, watch it later.