BWW Reviews: THE LIFE AND LOVES OF A NOBODY, Crucible Studio, Sheffield, January 22 2014
Third Angel's latest production, The Life and Loves of a Nobody, is enjoying a short run at Sheffield's Crucible Studio. The one-act show features a series of scenes from the life of 'Rachel', a seemingly ordinary woman who wanted to become famous for something - and, at last, has her life put before an audience.
The piece deliberately plays with boundaries between fiction and fact, not least as the character's name is one letter removed from director/performer Rachael Walton. The piece is a two hander with Walton and Nick Chambers performing all of the roles and also acting as comperes, interweaving the scenes with the repartee of presenters fronting a show.
Walton and Chambers are dynamic performers who command the audience's attention. The set for the show is simple yet incredibly effective as paper butterflies, fairy lights, torches and huge rolls of paper all come into their own in setting scenes. One, in particular, sees Walton as Rachel recounting some of the most traumatic experiences of her life in sillhouette, her face enlarged by the torchlight, giving the scene an incredible power and intimacy.
There are some lovely sequences in this performance - funny, touching, sentimental - the only real problem is the ending, which seems clumsy and the audience found confusing. It's only when reading on their blog that they'd been watching a lot of Black Mirror that their choice of ending becomes clear - without giving too much away, they use a concept that adds little of import to the piece and feels like they are over-reaching for a reason why the life of the 'nobody' should be presented here. Ending aside, this is an interesting meditation on what it means to be ordinary, and which sequences of our own lives we might choose to highlight were we in Rachel's position.
The Life and Loves of a Nobody is at the Crucible Studio, Sheffield until 25 January.