Star rating: five stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Time is ticking… As the audience enter Lost Watch’s Attic space in the Pleasance, a metronome marks the seconds – evenly paced and assured. As Rianna Dearden takes up her place with percussion, that rhythm that was so predictable and even becomes syncopated and chaotic as layers of sound mix with the steady rhythm until any sense of order is wholly disrupted.
So it has been for the autobiographical writer and performer in Goodstock, Olivia Hirst. As she quickly and guilelessly explains, she carries the BRCA1 gene – just like Angelina Jolie – and sets about explaining what this means. Hirst is instantly engaging, a gifted communicator and performer.
The third member of the cast appears, Illona Linthwaite, plays Olivia’s Grandmother – also a carrier of BRCA1 – a survivor. She takes us through the family tree as far as her memory reaches up to the present day.
This cast of three takes the audience with them on a stunningly life-affirming and often laugh-out-loud funny exploration of the world of BRCA1; the world of the cancer survivor and the cancer avoider.
The score for the piece, written by Dearden and Sigrún Hardardóttir adds layers of emotion to the dialogue: sometimes complementing and enhancing the words; sometimes opposing and countering the rhythm and tone. It is one of the most interesting and stimulating listening experiences you will find in Edinburgh this year as Dearden employs percussion, guitar, keyboard and cello to great effect. When all three voices sing together, it is intensely moving: this is a company completely in tune with each other.
Lost Watch is no stranger to the Fringe, but this is the company’s most intimate and personal work to date, skilfully directed by Lucy Wray to create a lasting impression on the audience. I saw audience members instinctively reach for companion’s hands in a hush that was so attentive in a moment seldom felt in a makeshift venue such as this.
Go. You will be so pleased you did. This is a truly special piece.
Lost Watch in association with Greenwich Theatre