BWW Review: CONVERSATIONS at Capital Fringe
While it takes a few minutes to really start moving, Natasha Preston's Conversations - which she wrote and performs - is one of the most emotionally raw and honest pieces of theatre I've seen this year. Preston has taken a period of personal tragedy and funneled it into a multi-layered show that connects with audiences. That's not an easy feat when you're exploring your own history, but she does it skillfully.
It would be dishonest to Preston's story, and how she tells it, by going into details, so I'm going to stick to the surface. We're taken on a trip across several moments in Preston's life as she imagines a series of conversations with her father - ones she wishes she'd had with him before his passing. This is am emotional affair, but not one that veers into sentimentality. On the contrary, much of what we see is uncomfortable and strange and frustrating, as conversations with parents so often are. These talks rarely feel triumphant or imbued with closure, and always feel real.
Clancey Yovanovich has done a great job directing Preston in this space - the Spider space at St. Augustine's Church seems like one of the less accommodating at Fringe this year, but this creative team has done a lot to create this world - half living room, half ghostly memory space. Preston's choreography, co-devised with Ian Edwards, produces a couple of incredible moments of pure theatrical movement. One in particular, an extended silent sequence, has not left my mind and shouldn't be missed.
Conversations is one of the best I've covered at the festival this year and, if you are up for it, is an incredibly rewarding experience. There are only two shows left - buy your tickets here.
(Audiences should note that Conversations, while highly recommended, covers trauma related to sexual assault, eating disorders and death. )