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25 September, 2019

A jumble of stories without significant correlation or cohesion

The stage can be a lonely place, especially in a one-woman show.

Maintaining momentum whilst delivering witty word play on the back of deeply personal revelations is a tough ask.

The material was there, but the often-stuttering, stilted delivery appeared unrehearsed to the point of painful to watch.

Annie Lee’s performance of her autobiographical Pawn Again Christian was set in an intimate theatre space, with minimal sets or props, and on this particular evening, just shy of full capacity.

During the show some rusted-on characters come to light – the ‘inquisitive’ Irish priest, the hex casting gypsy crone, and when they did appear, the performance flowed well, and the viewer was treated to clever character observation and talented rendition.

However, the order of the storyline, a memoir of imposed religious conformity, spiritual searching and rebellious angst, was clunky and rambling.

Rather than a revelatory journey, it became a jumble of stories without significant correlation or cohesion.

This became a difficult position for the audience who, of their own energy, were willing the emergence of some deeper humour, pathos or connection which just wasn’t happening.

Some musical interludes with cheeky lines and a few nods and winks to the audience served to break up an otherwise laboured story.

As a new work, it may develop with some further rewriting, direction and performance.