Pit – The Vaults
Reviewed – 28th January 2020
“There is no hint of sentimentality, self pity or schmaltz. Just one woman’s humanity. And a lot of fun”
This one woman show is a delight. By turns hilarious, moving, sad and uplifting; it takes the audience on a journey through Joann Condon’s life and memories, dreams and sorrows. The stories are intensely personal, but also universal and immensely relatable. The publicity promises to make the audience laugh and cry, and it is true to that promise.
The moment Condon arrived on stage she had us with her. She is naturally engaging, and sometimes brutally honest, as she begins to talk about her childhood and the revelation that she, a ‘fat cockney girl,’ wanted to be an actress. The little boxes of the title are the boxes we all are put into, or choose for ourselves. At school were you the clever one? The naughty one? The popular one? And later, are you the good parent, the weird one, or maybe the one who works too hard? We unconsciously accept these boxes and are complicit in their construction. Condon lets the audience into her life, opening her boxes and examining the contents. She has a lovely comic touch, cheeky and beguiling, and there are plenty of laughs, many provoked by identification with the situation she is talking about. It’s a special thing, as an actor, to have the courage to be open and emotionally honest with your audience, and Condon’s connectedness when talking about difficult times provided the promised tears. When she dances like a diva the audience whooped and yelled in encouragement of her joy. There is no hint of sentimentality, self pity or schmaltz. Just one woman’s humanity. And a lot of fun.
It’s a lovely show, written by Condon and developed in collaboration with producer Leonie Rachel from a five minute stand up piece, and performed in a simple set full of piles of cardboard boxes. Supported by Ria Samalti’s lighting and sound, and directed with sensitivity and a playful authenticity by Daniel Brennan, this is one not to miss. I hope it will have a life after the Vaults Festival, so that more people will be able to see it.
Reviewed by Katre