Review: Many Man, Spilt Milk by Helen Joy

4 Stars4 / 5

What an interesting evening! Enjoyable company, a suitably fringe-y venue complete with glitter ball and gold chairs and wine in a plastic goblet in the attics of a Cardiff bar and I’m happy. Nice bit of chatter in the foyer before and after and much to chat about. A very welcoming experience.

And Many Man begins. His little stage reminds me of someone moving house, just leaving, just arriving, in boxes, in transit. He is in our faces and alone. He is a comic, a stand-up, a young man telling us the ordinary story of his younger life and he makes us laugh.

The audience is mostly young men. I could be his mother. Their mother. I could be the woman in the kitchen of his past making chicken dinner on a Sunday. I could be the youngster bored with the comfort of the repetition of a safe and ordinary life. We all connect with something in his history and it is safe to laugh. But we know something is amiss. We glimpse his torture and we wait.

There are no breaks, no let up.  We are strapped to our seats and braced for the ride. He is a phoney, a liar, a conman. He is an American, a Scot, a Welshman. He loses more than he gains in his efforts to be extra ordinary: to get the girl, to keep the girl, to love the girl and to love himself. It is not funny; it is tragic. And we are awkward in our responses. I can see people reaching for their drinks, looking away, no longer smiling but embarrassed, caught out.

It is a story of self-loathing. It is a breakdown. It is La Voix Humane and Many Man is singing his heart out through the window of the stage. For him, it is a long hour. It is a cleverly sculpted piece, still rough, still forming; hard and physical.

The church bells of St John’s ring in practice session and lend a certain resonating presence to the tale. I am not sure we like this man, this me.

Cast & Crew

Tobias Weatherburn – Writer, Performer
Becca Lidstone – Director

 

Company             Spilt Milk

http://community.nationaltheatrewales.org/profile/SpiltMilkTheatre

Reviewer         Helen Joy for Get the Chance

Where             The Big Top, Church Street, Cardiff

When               July 20th, 2017; 1930 – 2040h

http://www.cardifffringetheatrefestival.co.uk/events-list/2017/7/20/many-man

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