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PULSE FESTIVAL 2016: People You May Know – The Goldilocks Project

Writer and Performer: Stanley Rudkin
Co-Writer and Director: Rob Salmon
Reviewer: Glen Pearce
Venue: New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich


TRH-Critics-Choice-4starwebIf any of the majorpolling and research companies want a representative take on the current mood of you people, they could do far worse than peruse People You May Know’s catalogue of work.

The group of young theatre-makers grew out of the New Wolsey Theatre’s Young Associate programme and over the last three years have taken audiences deep into you people’s hopes and fears with Party Piece, Frequently Asked Questions, Births Deaths &Marriages and now The Goldilocks Principle.

Stanley is on the verge of something big. 18 and about to head to university to study Economics and Econometrics. It is a turning point in his life. Or is it? Is he taking the easy route, following the expected path of his family, proving that he can do the same as his two elder brothers. Is he following The Goldilocks Principle – research that shows that we’re wired to ignore the too simple and the too complex and plump for the middle of the road and settle, as Goldilocks does, for the ‘just right’?

Stanley sets out to explore the possibility through three stories from his life, two from his past and once looking to his future. Have these events shaped him, made him what he is or have they forced him down a particular route?

It is a gripping concept and one that Stanley Rudkin, in an almost solo performance, excels at delivering. Rudkin starts the show exposed in just his underwear, but as he gets dressed he conversely reveals more of his personality, his hopes, his dreams and his fears. It is almost too voyeuristic to watch, the epitome of society’s growing need to share ever minute detail of their lives, but in Rudkin’s assured delivery it becomes utterly engrossing. Knowing that friends and family are in the audience to witness this first, and currently only planned showing of the piece, heightens that sense of intimacy and revelation.

It is not quite, however, an entirely solo performance. Sat on stage throughout, Tom Chamberlain interjects occasionally with counterpoints to Rudkin’s views, chides about his mathematical geekery or general observation about audience reaction. The relationship between the two is never fully clear, however. We’re also given brief cameo appearances by some of the supporting characters in Rudkin’s life. While well delivered, and perhaps an attempt to portray Rudkin’s inner voice, ultimately they seem surplus to requirements.

Rudkin’s performance is strong enough to hold attention on its own, and the piece, though still powerful, would work better as a solo piece, with perhaps the extras being reduced to audio only appearances.

Rudkin delivers a brutally frank and exposing performance, a performance filled with humour, self-deprecation, honesty and no small dose of charm. We follow Rudkins tale from boy to man and

We follow Rudkin’s tale from boy to man and regular audience members of the New Wolsey will also be able to chart the mirror development of Rudkin through the theatre’s youth performances. On this showing, it is clear that he has grown into an accomplished stage performer. Regardless of the decisions he makes over the future path of his life, it is clear that future path has plenty of promise.

Reviewed on 29 May 2016 | Image: Contributed

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