Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

Intriguing - ish!

Just a Few Words

Stammermouth , The Other Room, Cardiff , February-13-19
Just a Few Words by Stammermouth
This second production in The Other Room’s Artistic Director, Dan Jones’ programme of visiting companies, like the first is certainly something different. It was good to see a full house enjoying the proceedings.

I wondered what we would see, a group of actors stammering their way through a play? No, Just a Few Words is an Edinburgh Fringe award-winning ‘play’ devised and performed by Nye Russell-Thompson. He doesn’t stammer his way through the whole hour. Russell-Thompson himself has rid himself of his stammer. Therefore he is well placed to demonstrate to us the difficulties that people who stammer have to endure.

The actor totally captivates us with his charm, his twinkle in his eye and way he introduces a lot of laughter into the subject. At one point he brings us all into the show. He demonstrates some of the techniques used to help overcome the problem. He gets us all to repeat them, which we do, with enthusiasm. Certainly the intimacy of The Other Room aids his conversational style. There are times when the stammering slows things down but has a fascinating way of overcoming this

As he comes on to the stage he is carrying a large pile of big cards that he places on a table beside him.

Trying to declare your feelings for someone is a big challenge for the stammerer. As Russell-Thompson demonstrates that the difficulties are defeating him, he holds up a card which has the final bit of the conversation written on it. This always makes us smile: sometime a card will produce loud laughter.

The cards now become the core of the performance. As his sentences continue to be become more difficult he relies more and more on the cards. The performance ends with a flurry of difficult sentences. He can’t pick the cards up quickly enough to complete the sentences. He becomes so frustrated; he flings them all on to the floor. Yes we see now exactly what he’s been getting at and reward the skilful performance with warm applause.

Engaging though it was, for me this was more a very interesting lecture than an expression of theatre art. But I guess this one of the types of performances that Fringe Theatre is for. This intriguing performance continues until Feb. 16.

And there are more of them to come up to the end of March.

Reviewed by: Michael Kelligan

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