Pleasance Theatre, London – until 23 October 2016
Guest reviewer: Sarah Tinsley
It was my first time at the Pleasance Theatre. It’s tucked away between industrial buildings, amongst a clutter of bars and restaurants. In this cosy little theatre space, Jaw Rattle productions brought us Can You Hear Me Running?, the story of Louise Breckon-Richards and her recovery from a world of silence.
Louise is an actor. A singer, a performer. In every walk of life, from a mother to a joker, it is the vibrations of her vocal chords that define her. So what happens when her larynx lets her down? She takes to the streets.
As a fellow runner, I was with her every step of the way. The sense of personal achievement and euphoria that can be achieved through simply placing one foot in front of the other is hard to capture. The disbelief as your legs take you further than you thought they could. Louise shows us how, between the stack-boxed stage set, she used her whole body to compensate for the loss of her voice.
Accompanying the journey is Dan Glover, reminding us how much simple music can convey. From Send in the Clowns to Coldplay in the flick of a switch, he provides an extra character, in the form of unsung songs. We follow her journey to uncertain recovery, see the pain the loss of her voice brings, and follow her to the finish line.
It wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. We were treated to diary entries, monologues, interviews with specialists where Louise took on multiple characters. Right from the beginning it was brazen, I felt very exposed to a personal journey, which is perhaps why it lacked the bravado you would hope for in a one-woman show.
Photo Credit Graham Saville
Personally, I found it incredibly moving. When I left the theatre, I wanted to sing, scream, call up a friend and pour every little thought I had into their ear. The play highlights the power that lies within our voices, and questions if we can truly be ourselves without it.
It felt uncomfortably real. There was hope, tragedy, humour and despair. Basically, life. At the end, I felt as though a sliver of another life had been given to me. Understated yet moving, an honest and energetic show.
Can You Hear Me Running?
Title Can You Hear Me Running?
Performance Dates Tuesday 4th – Sunday 23rd October 2016 Tuesday-Saturday, 8pm (additional performances on 13th and 20th at 1pm)
There will be a signed performance on Sunday 16th October Running time 70 minutes
Twitter @canyouhearmerun, #canyouhearmerunning, @BreckonRichards, @JawRattle, @jjoharper
Performer Louise Breckon-Richards
Written by Jo Harper
Director Steve Grihault
Musical Director Dan Glover
Movement Director Steve Kirkham
Produced by Jaw Rattle Productions
Location Pleasance Theatre, Carpenters Mews, North Road, London N7 9EF How to get there The nearest tube station is Caledonian Road (on the Piccadilly Line). Turn left out the station and then take the first left up North Road. The theatre is then 100m up on your left. The closest rail station is Caledonian Road and Barnsbury.
Box Office Tickets are available from £10 at https://www.pleasance.co.uk/event/can-you-hear-me-running or 020 7609 1800.