The Hope Theatre




“Being entirely in verse, the linguistic, rhythmic and rhyming artistry is something to be applauded”


The frightful sound of the school bell rings out. As your teacher for the evening makes his way to the whiteboard, papers are handed out around the class / audience, of the poem that is to be stuffily analysed. Or so you think … My Evolution of Cave Painting is a profoundly personal one-man show written and performed by Howard Horner, or Mr. Horner as us ‘students’ are introduced to him as. This highly comical and cleverly written piece of storytelling opens as a lecture on poetry, and the dull approach in which it is taught in this country, before turning into an outlandish expulsion of Mr. Horner’s neurosis. Moving between the complexities of growing up, and our incessant need to make our mark on the world, this production successfully evaluates our modern-day British lifestyles, whilst maintaining a firm look at the past and how much it has shaped us.

The real gem of this performance is Howard Horner’s writing. Being entirely in verse, the linguistic, rhythmic and rhyming artistry is something to be applauded. Adopting this poetic style whilst reflecting on the effects poetry has had on his life is a nice paralleling touch. It is the use of verse that helps to give My Evolution of Cave Painting a real spark, channelling elements of a spoken word or poetry slam reading.

The placement within a school environment is also a winning combination. The small constrictions of the Hope Theatre effectively resemble that of a claustrophobic classroom, which we all have memories of sitting in. Giving the audience an active role as the students within the performance provides a generous sense of involvement and deeper interaction with the work.

Howard Horner gives an intimate and honest look into the inner workings of his mind, and early childhood. At times the piece can verge on feeling like too much of a rant or preachy, but this is quickly reined in by his off-the-wall antics, particularly with black paint and talcum powder (I’ll say no more). Picking up on current topics of discussion such as male identity crisis and how it personally affects him, firmly places the show in the realms of our time. There may be nothing mightily profound or enlightening that is conversed around these areas of dilemma, however it is the manner in which it is presented that leaves a lasting mark.


Reviewed by Phoebe Cole

Reviewed – 5th February 2018


My Evolution of Cave Painting

Hope Theatre



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