Festival Blues [12th Aug Part 2]
147 Questions About Love- Volcano Theatre
The title is right up my street and the intimate, thoughtful and inquisitive show made my afternoon at the festival purposeful. Perched on a square cushion on the stage area with the dancers, I make myself comfortable surrounded by tea, wet coats and my notebook. Paul Davies writes in a little notebook, acknowledging silently and joking with me about mine. When he hands it to me I discover he has listed “Things That I am Afraid of”. I feel special, having been let in on his secret. I write below “Be Brave”. I take the liberty of jotting some of my musings down in his notebook for him to discover later. Davies and his partner Catherine Bennett are at first an odd couple. Davies ponders question after question with her. He asks silly and thoughtful questions, sometimes answering them sometimes not. The key to this piece is the dialogue Davies creates between himself and our thoughts. The intimate viewing on cushions in their space provides atmosphere for me to ponder on the musings of the duo. Bennett responds to these questions in movement however I find her style angular and pedestrian. This jars with the imaginative ambulatory feeling of the thoughts in the Davies’ and our minds. When I am called upon to join in, I eagerly bound onto the stage and answer their questions, sometimes revealing a little more information than expected- but we are all friends now! I wrap myself around Davies like a snake and burrow like an owl. I name my last three lovers and feel a pang as Davies makes the link between one and an earlier monkey reference. (“would you eat a monkey in desperate circumstances?” “Yes I would” I reply, “as long as I could cook it”). I find Bennett warm and welcoming as I stand with her on stage and realise that my view from the side prevented me from seeing her move with facial expression.
“Have you seen someone so delicious looking, that you might be compelled to kiss them?” Davies use of speech is warm, thoughtful and compelling.
The pair use object play with a bench, a wooden box lined with red velvet, an apple, string and a pencil. Drawing out tensions and comradery between lovers. I like time to ponder and to giggle and this show allows for that. There are moments of beauty shared between Bennet and Davies. It’s a simple show and it works. Particularly for me because I was partly in it. I took ownership over the many questions which perhaps I might not have done in the same way as a conventional audience member.