Tag Archives: Nye Russell-Thompson

REVIEW: JUST A FEW WORDS at The Other Room by Gareth Ford-Elliott

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Just a Few Words explores the psychological and emotional impact of having a stutter. How that affects your everyday life and indeed, your love life. We follow our protagonist (Nye Russell-Thompson) as he struggles to tell the woman he loves how he feels.

I’d heard a lot about this piece and my main worry going in was that the writing would be structured poorly. This isn’t a worry that need be had. The writing from Russell-Thompson is brilliantly structured as we follow the protagonist’s journey through his mind, preparing what to say.

Just a Few Words is frustrating at times as a slow-moving piece of theatre, deliberately so. This allows the audience to imagine, if not feel, the frustration that can be felt with a stammer. Not to pity but understand. You never feel sorry for the character which is a real strength of the piece. He feels like someone going through something which is presented as normal and relatable.

A one-man-show created and performed by Russell-Thompson, you can’t help but notice how this is more real to Nye than it would be to another actor. Even without the knowledge of who he is. This is a credit to his abilities as an actor, but also serves as a note to organisations who don’t hire disabled actors to play the roles their disabilities represent.

The debate about stammering being a disability will continue, a debate I’m not qualified to comment on and one this production doesn’t claim to solve. But what this play does present clearly is that Just a Few Words is stronger because of Nye’s personal performance. And it is the character’s emotive story that is the main strength of Just a Few Words.

The music and sound utilised in the production are excellent. From stuttering on an Otis Redding love song played on a record player in the beginning, to a grainy, static from said record player that runs for the entirety of the play. The sound is simple but adds a huge amount to the ambiance.

The minimalist set is great too. A record player in one corner, a table in another and the use of pre-written cards which act as subtitles for our protagonist’s thoughts that scatter around the stage complete the show and makes it everything fringe theatre should be.

Just a Few Words is an excellent and relatable portrayal of life with a stammer, blending a beautifully minimalist approach with powerful writing.

Just a Few Words is part of The Other Room’s ‘Spring Fringe’ curated spring season. One of eight shows coming to Cardiff’s only pub theatre over eight weeks. Tickets can be found for the upcoming Spring Fringe shows HERE, with an ever-growing discount for the more shows you book.

JUST A FEW WORDS performed at The Other Room
13th February – 16th February 2019
Presented by StammerMouth
Created and Performed by Nye Russell-Thompson
Stage Manager: Megan Randall

Review: Just a Few Words, Little Man Coffee Co. by Luke Seidel-Haas

Image result for just a few words stammermouth

★★★★☆

Telling someone that you have feelings for them can be difficult enough at the best of times. Your palms go sweaty, your mouth dries up and you get butterflies in your stomach. Now imagine how much harder it would be if you have a speech impediment like a stutter or stammer. The more you try to get your words out, the more your mouth clamps up. This is the premise of Stammermouth‘s production of Just a Few Words. First performed at Edinburgh Festival in 2015 where it was nominated for the Total Theatre ‘shows by an emerging artist’ award, this show aims to raise the awareness of stuttering and ways in which it can be overcome.

Performed in the blank studio space downstairs in Little Man Coffee Co. in Cardiff city centre, the set is stripped back to the absolute minimum. In one corner is a record player which plays static and judders backwards and forwards across the same lines (insert joke about sounding like a stuck record here), and in the other corner is a pile of cue cards. These cards act partly as a simple way of communicating meaning, but at times also start to almost feel like a secondary character in the play, urging actor Nye Russell-Thompson to try to find the words he needs. The space is an excellent choice, as the minimalistic setup allows you to concentrate entirely on the words and on Nye’s captivating performance.

Self depreciating, honest and open, Nye demonstrates an incredible level of vulnerability. While he is playing a fictional character with the aim of telling someone he loves them, it is clear that much of the content is based on his own lived experience. Intimate and at times raw, the play feels simultaneously universal and highly personal in nature. As the play progresses we are invited to try and simulate what having a stammer would be like. Initially eliciting a few awkward laughs, Nye’s sincerity in trying to show us even a snippet of his experience is illuminating and allows us to feel the utmost sympathy for his situation. Functioning as a dark comedy, Just a Few Words invites us to laugh with Nye, never at him.

Many of us take it for granted that we are able to communicate fairly easily using the spoken language. Just a Few Words is an excellent and thought provoking reminder of the challenges that can arise from making ourselves understood, as well as the techniques used to help reduce or overcome stuttering. Performed with a captivating vulnerability by Nye Russell- Thompson, Just a Few Words is a simple yet spellbindingly effective account of one persons struggle to make themselves heard.

Written and performed by Nye Russell-Thompson

Produced by StammerMouth

Little Man Coffee Co. 3rd June 2018

Part of the Cardiff Fringe Theatre Festival – more information and tickets here

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Luke Seidel-Haas