Reviewer: Jojo Townsend
The Way You Tell Them is a performance by Rachel Mars exploring the nature of stand up comedy and it’s relationship to theatre programmed as part of the Beyond A Joke season at the Camden People’s Theatre. The performance starts with an acknowledgement of this cozy lively venue and its foibles with a pillar and a busy street, showing that Mars is truly comfortable in this space.
Mars treads the line between theatre and stand up to explore the connection within her comedic family and in particular the Grandfather that she never met, she explores jokes from her childhood and his life as well as the science behind laughter. She is a real ball of energy and by her own acknowledgement, comedy is a huge part of her personality and even her physicality with her ‘open eyebrows’ and ‘lower status posture’ all to create a non-threatening persona.
With some skill, Mars explains that for her humour is a way to deal with all the contradictions in the world. There are moments of real poignancy when Mars uses a bike light in the dark to show the movement of the blood clot from her Grandfather’s hip to his lung that lead to his death.
There are elements that are perhaps a little underdeveloped – there is a moment of audience participation with an umbrella and a little dance routine that wasn’t fully explained and at times, the staging feels a little confusing; however the last speech delivered by Mars is particularly thought-provoking.