Writers: Rachael Walton and Chris Thorpe
Director: Rachael Walton
Co-Director: Alexander Kelly
Reviewer: Fiona Hannon
The Life and Loves of a Nobody is exactly as the title suggests, the story of an unremarkable woman. Rachael (the “nobody” in question) is 36 and grew up on the 18th floor of a tower block, eating carefully balanced popcorn, gazing at the stars and the lights reflected in the canal below. As she grows up there are boyfriends, college, marriage, miscarriages, divorce and at one point, she even runs away to the circus.
Sheffield based Third Angel, is led by co-artistic directors Alexander Kelly and Rachael Walton and has been going strong since 1995. Performing at many venues across the city and around the world, they make use of a variety of platforms and media. For this show, the seating in The Studio Theatre has been set out so that the audience are positioned either side of the central performance “runway”. At times it feels a little like watching a tennis match, as the dialogue bounces from one performer to the other. As you would expect from this company, the production is visually intriguing, from a swarm of delicate paper butterflies that gradually fills the stage to a later scene where the whole of the performance area is screened off to the audience.
This work is performed by Nick Chambers and Rachael Walton (who also wrote and co-directed the piece). Both engage immediately with the audience as they take their seats, welcoming them to the theatre and thanking them for taking the time to participate in the evening. The performers act both as narrators, speaking directly to the audience, but also as actors slipping in and out of their rôles.
There is a lot of fun to be had, including audience participation in a guessing game of Hollywood musicals described through a child’s eye view. These light hearted passages (watch out for the bread rolls) contrasted with darker elements of the story, such as Rachael’s description of her miscarriage kept entirely to herself, while only seen in silhouette.
Third Angel have succeeded in turning an unremarkable story into a thoroughly remarkable performance through their innovative use of spoken word, song, dance, music and beautifully designed set by Andrew Stephenson.
Runs until: 25th January