A very clever, well-crafted and moving non-verbal piece from OddHouse Theatre Company (an emerging feminist collective) is currently available to stream at the Brighton Fringe.
Quiet Little Things is the debut production from a company that surely has a very bright future ahead, and it is a hard-hitting show that goes for the jugular in a fascinating and visual way.
As two clowns enter a world which celebrates female objectification and abuse, their playful innocence is challenged in a production that mixes images, music (‘Send in the Clowns’ in a recording by Sinatra), physical theatrics and emotional engagement.
At first the tone is light, perhaps even playful. It put me in mind of baby animals and how they explore the world and each other, listening and touching, identifying what is safe and what is dangerous. The physicality of the performers is strong and their initial bond is evident.
Using Sondheim’s song of regret at a life decision made by a man and a woman earlier in life brings all sorts of associations to the table. As the clowns open the door – one is keen to explore, another hangs back in fear and caution, their decision changes their lives forever.
OddHouse Theatre are April Amelia and Hannah Felbaum. Their performances of powerful silence really get under your skin, and this production is so economically produced yet does not waste a moment. This is a team to follow as they progress.
In utilising the medium of non-verbal communication and physical clowning I was reminded of other practitioners in the female-led theatre space who are equally brave and uncompromising (Gash Theatre, Ugly Bucket, Slap ‘n Tickle). All these are happy discoveries of theatre’s year-long pause for me.
Quiet Little Things hints at the physical and mental suppression of women’s voices across the globe. A radio, dolls, and other objects identify problem thoughts and situations leading up to a thoroughly bleak finale.
Fringe rating: ****
You can access Quiet Little Things and purchase tickets here.
It is available throughout the Brighton Fringe until 27 June.
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