Review: Tiny Deaths
A series of 11 monologues about love and sex written by Uther Dean. It’s performed by 6 women – Alice May Connolly, Brianne Kerr, Hannah Banks, Freya Daly Sadgrove, Hilary Penwarden, and Kegan Carr Fransch.
From the start we’re invited into a surreal world where the object of love and/or sex might not be human. The monologues are intense, obsessive, desperate, breathless, funny, poignant, and altogether human.
Connolly describes an intense relationship from the first meeting through to the end in her first monologue. She’s cheerful the whole way through but the sense that she really knows what is going on lurks underneath her words. Her second monologue is a call to arms against perfect couples. (You can imagine how it ends.) Kerr’s first monologue is about an obsession that affects her ability to stay professional at work. Her character misreads the situation and ends up in a horrible position. Her second monologue is desperately sweet and very humanistic. Kerr gives us two clear characters – one all internal, the other all external. Banks’ two monologues are quite different. The first is a character who can’t bear to be touched (for a very good reason mind.) All unrequited love and loneliness her pain is palpable. The second monologue is the exact opposite. Passionate, breathless, swoon-y, fast paced. Sadgrove gets what I think are the two most difficult monologues. Her first one features a colossal squid and consists of her reading from cards. Smug and twee are the two words that come to mind while watching. The second is a list of ‘things to do’ which reminds me of one of my favourite poems. This time she’s full of ennui and anxiety. Good stuff. Penwarden is onstage providing music and sound effects during the whole performance so it’s fair enough that she performs only one monologue. She does this beautifully, full of sorrow for missed opportunities. Carr Fransch’s first monologue is about love and sustenance. Her characterisation of the ‘other’ is funny – just before things turn more sinister. Her second character is quite different. She is puzzled, proud, and vengeful in her role as exposed lover.
It is wonderful to see the shifts that most of the actors are able to make in their tones and physicality for each monologue. As a showcase for these actors it works really well. I like Dean’s writing. It’s poetical and goes to weird places in order to explore what it is to be human.
- Tiny Deaths, closes tonight at BATS Theatre.
NB. It contains coarse language, and descriptions of sex acts and violence (both physical and emotional.)